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Health agency connects patients, doctors

PENN YAN—Finger Lakes Community and Migrant Health will be using a $998,000 grant to become a hub connecting patients and doctors via technology.
Mary Zelazny, executive director of FLCMH, said this is service is called tele-health. Over the next two years the Penn Yan based agency will be assisting two similar service groups in Maine and Illinois. She explained representatives will travel to the two agencies and show them how to use the framework FLCMH has already created for doctor’s consultations via web cam.
FLCMH has been offering this service already since 2006-07 and has created guidelines for ways to handle the flow of information. Zelazny said FLCMH already offers tele-dentistry, tele-psychiatry, and tele-ENT (Ear Nose Throat) consultations. Zelazny added FLCMH wants to use a camera that can take high resolution photos of the skin, which are then sent to a dermatological specialist.
She explained patients come to one of six area sites with the technology. The equipment connects the doctor with the patient and staff on this end. She said everyone can speak with and see each other, and what examinations show.
She said this all is very useful, especially in a rural community where patients cannot always make the necessary trips to doctors, like in Rochester. Zelazny said patients usually have to go to a doctor four times when it comes to surgery: consultation, pre-operation, surgery, and post-operation. She explained FLCMH can eliminate all but the surgery trips with telecommunications.
FLCMH also has “field units.” Zelazny said the briefcase shaped devices have a monitor installed and only need an Internet card to connect with a doctor.
“Ultimately, we would like to serve as a resource center for migrant health,” she said, adding after two years the agency would like to help similar agencies in Texas and Florida as well.
Zelazny explained that FLCMH is much further along in using this technology. The agency has already gotten other grants for this since 2006.

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