The Connected Nation Blog: Telemedicine Takes Center Stage in Anchorage

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Telemedicine Takes Center Stage in Anchorage

By Jeremy Thacker, Communications Specialist, Connect Alaska

With remote villages and rugged bush, there is simply no state that faces more challenges to quality individual medical care than Alaska. It is a fact that recently made the state the perfect backdrop for an important meeting of the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

ATA’s Fall Forum 2011 was held in Anchorage late last month to showcase the most groundbreaking, unusual, and extraordinary ideas and uses for telemedicine. The goal of the conference was to focus on big ideas that will revolutionize telemedicine in the next three to five years.

American Telemedicine Association Fall Fourm
In the spirit of telemedicine, the event was live simulcast via Internet videocast with the support of GCI ConnectMD. GCI is an Alaska-based telecommunications company. Its medical network is a telemedicine tool that is making a huge positive impact on the quality of medical care in once isolated villages in Alaska’s remote bush. Currently, GCI ConnectMD is the largest medical network in the Pacific Northwest, connecting more than 200 clinics, hospitals, and medical organizations.
CGI ConnectMD Network Map

A recent article by predicts that the telemedicine industry is headed for an explosive growth spurt over the next decade. The main reason for the prediction centers on the growing use of remote patient monitoring systems. The systems are being used more and more to keep a close monitor on patients, which cuts down on hospital visits and the length of patient stays.

There are already many life-improving and life-saving telemedicine technologies being used in Alaska and across the United States. Access to these services through quality, reliable broadband is critical. Telemedicine is just one more reason Connect Alaska is working with the Alaska Broadband Task Force to expand high-speed Internet access, adoption, and use across the state.