TeleHealth News

 
 

February 25, 2016

 
 

THE VOICE OF TELEHEALTH IN NM

 
 

     I was working at a local university's student health center in early 1970s, when a female student presented there with the complain of general illness and high fever one evening.  I quickly realized that something was very wrong with this young lady.  She looked quite ill and initial vital signs revealed a rapid pulse and 104F fever.
      The student claimed that she had gone camping a couple of weeks ago when she was visiting her family in the Midwest and since then had been feeling weak.  But nothing serious till today when she woke feeling lethargic with a slight bellyache.  She went to class but the light bothered her eyes too much so she went back to her dorm room and slept.  When her roommate came home after classes, she found her delirious and sweaty and brought her to the health center.
      A call to the ER at the university hospital was made and the busy ER attendant notified.   An ambulance was called, IV started, and she was transferred to the hospital.
      I called the ER before leaving work at 11 PM and was told that the patient was admitted to the ICU and that "No, they didn't know what was wrong with her."
      Overnight the condition of the young woman worsened.  A team of internists and medical students made the early rounds and a new treatment regiment ordered.  By late morning however, the patient's temperature spiked to 107F and she passed away that afternoon.
     The subsequent autopsy was not conclusive and a diagnosis of Q fever vs. acute liver failure was reported.  Although Q fever was identified in 1930s, it was not well known or understood and the drug of choice to treat it; Doxycyline was relatively new.  Still, it did not exactly fit the symptoms either.  What truly contributed to this patient's demise however, was lack of communication and availability of accurate information, even at a university setting.  Years later in the mid 1980s we discovered human monocytic ehrlichiosis, a tick transmitted disease.  The disease usually shows up in people with recent tick bites, and their symptoms are typically high fever, abnormal hematology, elevated liver enzymes, and extreme light sensitivity.  All of which were present in this young girl.  Although most cases respond well to treatment, there have been fatalities and this may have been one.
      To this day, I am saddened by the loss of that young lady.  Although everything that could be done was done for her according to the knowledge of the time, we still lost her.  I hate to think that lack of information and communication could cause the loss of someone else.  Today, telemedicine and telehealth can make the latest information available to a provider anywhere in our country quickly, so tragic scenarios like the above case should not happen.  Yet many communities are vulnerable.  Our budget fights at NM legislature recently, left everyone short.   Although some money was allocated to healthcare, still it was $40 million short to care for everyone under the Affordable Care Act.  Telehealth can help reduce the burden of cost but we must first have the connections.

 
 

In the News      


A great job opening at UNM Center for Telehealth - 
Associate Director (Program Operations Director) posting link: 
https://chc.tbe.taleo.net/chc01/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=UNMMEDICALGROUP&cws=1&rid=1053

Telemedicine Advances Faster Than States Can Keep Up 
GOVERNING

Expanded scope: Nurse practitioners making inroads

Modern Healthcare 

Six Steps to Transform Healthcare Now
NORC

Here's where New Mexico colleges land in new U.S. school ranking
Albuquerque Business First

 
 

 Of Interest:     


   The first large field trial of Jonas Salk's polio vaccine began on this week in 1954. 
   Polio soon joined diphtheria, smallpox, typhoid and other dreaded infectious diseases tamed and conquered by man. Or did it.
    Today some of these diseases such as TB, and measles are coming back.  As we find treatments for them, new ones are thrown at us; Hantavirus, HIV, Ebola, and Zika, to name a few.  
     Our healthcare system does find cure for them in time.  The trick is to get the treatment to everyone rapidly and accurately. Telehealth can help with research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment to large populations cheaply and quickly. 

 
 

How can TeleHealth help your Practice:

Infectious diseases are on the rise and our rural communities are vulnerable. 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. 

      

 
 

Our Sponsors



 
 

Useful links:

    American Telemedicine Association
Con Alma Health Foundation

Federation of State Medical Boards
National Rural Health Association
New Mexico Broadband Program
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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