TeleHealth News


November 3, 2016




    India reports that their health department has checked 320 million people for leprosy.
    The medical school I attended was in the US Public Health Hospital on Staten Island, NY. It was the early 1970s and the Vietnam War was still on. Due to the need for healthcare providers in the military, there was a shortage of medical personnel in the private sector. This was particularly acute in such places as public hospitals and clinics like our Hospital. As a result, many foreign doctors were employed in these places to fill the need. This brought with it numerous challenges but just as many opportunities as well. Several of these doctors, for example, were from Latin America and the Far East; like China, Korea or the Philippines. Besides their Western education, many had Eastern medical experiences which came in handy at the time.
     Our hospital for example, was the only one on the East Coast that treated Hansen's Disease (Leprosy). Two of our oriental and a Colombian provider had good experiences in the treatment of this disease from their home country and thus were put in charge of that clinic. With the advances in the treatment of this disease, the number of cases were small. Many of our patients were from the Caribbean, Central and South America. They stayed with relatives in the NY area and were treated by us. Often, the biggest challenge in treating these patients, was not their health problem, but rather the economical and financial hardship their care in NY created. They were being seen every few months, which made it necessary to stay in NY till their treatment was completed. They were usually from indigent families and going back and forth to their home countries was not a realistic option. Some did go back and we usually lost them and never saw them again.
     Today, with the advent of telehealth and telemedicine, we can treat many of them in their own countries and at home. If we could overcome the many political and bureaucratic obstacles.
     In our last February' Interstate Telehealth Discussion Group conference call, Doctor Bob Haws, a Pediatrics-Nephrologist from Marshfield Clinic told us about his work with Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS). He told us that; "there are only 2500 patients in the United States that have this disease and Marshfield Clinic is the specializing center in the treatment of it. Since these patients live all over the United States and the world, it makes it more challenging to provide care for them. If they could use telehealth, in their work, the burden, cost and hardship on the patients and the providers would be reduced dramatically. Yet unreasonable licensing requirements make such logical means of care unavailable."
     There are many other diseases such as BBS, and Hansen that could effectively be treated through telehealth, telemedicine and tele-education, if we could set aside, our prejudices and unreasonable need for turf control. This week we learned that Pennsylvania became the eighteenth state to enact the FSMBs Compact. If we could universally sign up to the Compact, advances can be made on many of these rare disease and universal healthcare become a true reality. [R. G.]


In the News:

Click here for our news blog

Pennsylvania to become the 18th state to join the 
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC)

Teladoc and American Red Cross Partner to Provide Disaster Victims with Remote Medical Care Through Leading Telehealth Platform  
Business Wire

WHO’s push for addressing mental health  
Clinical Psychiatry News

Patients left in limbo as more doctors flee Puerto Rico  

India’s massive leprosy case detection campaign reaches 320 million people  

Using Telehealth, mHealth to Fight the Flu  
mHealth Intelligence

For more relevant news checkout our website.


Of Interest:

    According to UN WHO, a disease is considered to be rare when the number of people affected is less than 5 per 10 000. There are between 5 000 and 8 000 rare diseases, most of them with a genetic basis.
     A very rough estimate would be that one out of 15 persons worldwide could be affected by a rare ("orphan") disease; 400 million people worldwide, of whom 30 million are in Europe and 25 million in the United States.
     The National Institutes of Health (NIH), reports that there are over 7,000 rare diseases affecting Americans, which is nearly 1 in 10 Americans.


How can TeleHealth help your Practice:

Presently hundreds of healthcare vacancies are listed 
by the NM Health Resources for New Mexico

   If your specialty is treating rare
diseases, consider expanding your
practice to the rural areas of our
state through TeleHealth.

Ask us how.

Many state laws, including NM, require insurance
companies to pay for TeleHealth consultation. 


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Useful links:

American Telemedicine Association
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Con Alma Health Foundation

Federation of State Medical Boards
Interstate Medical Licensure Compact
National Rural Health Association
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New Mexico Department of Health
NM Health Resources
The NM Dept of Information Technology
NM legislature

Upcoming NM Legislative meetings
NM Medical Board
New Mexico Rural Hospital Network
UNM Center for Telehealth
UNM Project ECHO
World Health Organization (WHO)


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