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Southwest Telehealth Resource Center Blog

Later this spring, Critical Access Hospital (CAH) administrators, state Flex program staff, and rural health care leaders will gather to share information and best practices with their peers at the Western Region Flex Conference at Tucson’s Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Resort. 

Attendees will not only learn what CAHs in the western half of the US are doing to preserve essential medical services in their communities, but will also learn about the latest state and national health policy developments and their impact on rural health care from nationally-recognized experts such as Keith Mueller from the University of Iowa and the Rural Policy Research Institute and John Supplitt from the American Hospital Association. The conference will also showcase successful efforts undertaken by rural providers and communities in the western US to overcome barriers to implementing and sustaining telemedicine services.

It is a new dawn for public health in the United States. As you may know, the public health system is currently undergoing a very rapid change in response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the epidemiological transition occurring in our Nation. At the same time, the public health workforce is aging and an expected 250,000 positions will need to be replaced by 2020.

It’s a long way and lots of hours flying from Tucson, AZ to Muscat, Oman but I had the great opportunity and pleasure to attend the 7th International Conference on Health Issues in Arab Communities with five of my colleagues from the University of Arizona.

It has taken quite a while, but the FDA has finally released a document that may help pave the way for whole slide imaging pathology system approval. On February 25th they released the “Technical Performance Assessment of Digital Pathology Whole Slide Imaging Devices Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff”.

We all know telemedicine works, that patients and providers like it, and that outcomes are increasingly being shown to be positive on a wide variety of measures. There are also lots of studies looking at patient groups and assessing whether they would accept and use telemedicine services. Most of these however are focused on a dedicated group of patients (e.g., the elderly, those with COPD) and don’t really capture the bigger picture.

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