Pacific Telemedicine Network

Pacific Telemedicine Newsletter #6

September 2019

Welcome to the Pacific Telemedicine Network American Samoa Newsletter. PTN is a Telemedicine and Education Program funded through USDA providing care where and when it is needed.  This month we look at the use of secure, HIPAA compliant Video for conferencing and diagnostics in Telemedicine.


Telemedicine Video Basics:

Use of secure Telemedicine video expands access for patients in significant ways. With telemedicine, doctors and patients can use two-way video, email, smartphones, and Internet-based secure email to exchange information and keep the Doctor in touch with the Patient.  Video conferencing technology is ideal for live, interactive, Doctor to Patient communication, medication adherence monitoring,  behavioral health support, and exchange of diagnostic images.

Telemedicine is changing the current paradigm of care, establishing an exchange between primary care and behavioral health care, allowing for better access and better health outcomes and providing a new health care environment to support social determinants of health. Telemedicine expands access to healthcare patients, allowing them to receive care when and where it is needed, without costly travel. Using Telemedicine, Rural hospitals can expand emergency and intensive services and bring Specialists in to assist in care through the use of secure video.

Telemedicine video conferencing uses we will learn about and practice are:

  • Primary and Follow-up care.
  • Remote consultations and patient monitoring.
  • Triage and Urgent Care/EMS.
  • Multidisciplinary meetings for training and education.
  • Behavioral Health.
  • Specialists Consultation,
  • Infectious Disease Management.
  • Assisted Living Care.
  • School-based Healthcare.

Reasons to integrate telemedicine enabled video conferencing into your care routine:

  1.  Better Patient Access:
  2. A primary benefit of video conferencing is both expanded care access and improved Doctor communication with the patient.  Telemedicine enabled Video conferencing is also essential in disaster areas, allowing health care providers and emergency services personnel to reach those affected by fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and when treating overdose due to opioid use disorder or substance use disorder.

2. Connecting physicians to specialists regardless of location.

Video conferencing can connect physicians with colleagues, health facilities and specialists who are in distant locations from the care site allowing for an unprecedented level of collaboration and knowledge-sharing between Doctors resulting in better outcomes and improved community health.

3. Providing medical education.

In American Samoa, we will use HIPAA compliant video conferencing to provide education for Nurses and Doctors.  The use of video conferencing will increase understanding of Telemedicine procedures, use of Telemedicine for treating SUD/OUD, Behavioral Health care, and Community Wellness.

4. Enabling more effective critical care.

Patients with chronic care needs have difficulty traveling long distances to see their doctor. Handicapped, elderly and patients in late stages of pregnancy significantly benefit from video access to their Doctor. Telemedicine is also vital for pediatrics. Many children’s ailments are straightforward enough to be diagnosed remotely – without requiring parents to bring sick children to the clinic.

5. Making Behavioral Health care more accessible.

With a focus on doctor-patient interaction, Behavioral Health services are ideal for telemedicine through video conferencing. Doctors can connect with patients using video, hold individual and group therapy sessions, and be available when the patient needs to talk.

6. Specialist referral services.

Video conferencing can expedite the specialist referral process. Using video, a primary care doctor can consult with a patient and specialist, helping with diagnosis and referrals.


Project Notes:

Do you know a school, church, or community organization that should also take part in the telemedicine project? Send an email with your suggestion to , and we will contact them.

The Next video conference call is Thursday, Oct.  17,  9 a.m. Invitations will be sent out by email.  We will review the secure video conferencing system we will be using for the Pacific Telemedicine Project.

Questions on Clinical Issues?  Send an email to the Project Medical Director, Dr. Chris Landon at .

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