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Aerospace Medical Association, May 2003

Mr. Doarn attended the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association in San Antonio, TX. This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of powered flight with the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903. It also marks one hundred years of aerospace medicine. Telemedicine has played a key role in aerospace medicine during many of these 100 years. Mr. Doarn presented an oral presentation entitled “Telemedicine: Impact of Space Exploration” at this meeting. He also served as the session chair on Space Medical Support.


The MITAC participated directly in many activities at the 8th Annual Meeting & Exposition of the American Telemedicine Association in Orlando, FL, April 27-30, 2003. MITAC representatives, Dr. Ronald Merrell, Mr. Charles Doarn, Mr. Brett Harnett, Mr. Russell Hummel, and Ms. Debbie Justis attended the meeting. In addition, Dr. Edgar Rodas, MITAC collaborator from Cinterandes Foundation in Cuenca, Ecuador, participated.

MITAC members submitted two abstracts for oral presentation at the scientific meeting of the ATA. Mr. Doarn presented “Mobile Telemedicine: Any Time Any Where at a session entitled “Using Telemedicine in Disaster Medicine Response”. Mr. Harnett’s presentation, entitled “Operation Lion Heart: Real-time Physiologic Data via Cellular and LEOS”, was presented at the “Telecommunications Network Design” session. In addition, Mr. Doarn and Mr. Harnett each served as session chairs for their respective sessions. Their presentations were well received.

Mr. Hummel, a MITAC Senior Biomedical Engineer won the first place award for best scientific poster presentation in the Technology Division at the 2003 ATA meeting. His poster presentation was titled “ Tele Anesthesiology: Remote Physiologic Monitoring by Satellite Phone & the Internet.” Posters were judged on scientific content and methodology. Several reviewers observed that MITAC was very effective in identifying challenges, adapting technology and making it work to accomplish the objectives.

TATRC International Day, April 2003

The Department of Defense’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) invited Dr. Merrell and Dr. Rodas to participate as presenters at the TATRC-sponsored “Partnering to Enable Technology: Meeting Medical Challenges in a Changing World” session on April 26, 2003. The entire meeting was focused on telemedicine implementation in South America. Dr. Merrell presented “Telemedicine Support for Remote Fixed Facilities” and Dr. Rodas presented “Telemedicine for Mobile Surgery”. Both presentations were well received. Comments about the importance and benefit of the MITAC work in Ecuador were highlighted in both panel discussions and closing remarks by several panel members.

Prior to the start of the ATA, TATRC asked MITAC to begin to explore collaborations in the area of telesurgery and simulations with discipline experts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC). This collaboration was formally initiated at the ATA through co-hosting an exhibit booth within TATRC’s large exhibit. The MITAC presented a looping presentation on Telecollaboration in Surgery: Education and Practice. In addition, MITAC held a live surgery demonstration. Dr. Merrell was conducting a surgical procedure at MCV Hospital in Richmond, VA. A live video and audio feed over Internet Protocol (IP) was transmitted to the exhibition hall in Orlando, FL. During the entire procedure Dr. Merrell interacted with an assembled group of surgeons from WRAMC, lead by Col Michael Marohn. Attendees could also observe, first hand, a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The use of the IP approach demonstrated the efficiency of how telesurgery could be conducted over a shared network, where scarce resources were managed effectively. There was tremendous interaction and collegiality between Dr. Merrell and effectively students at the TATRC booth in Orlando.

Mr. Doarn participated in an international meeting sponsored by the TATRC. This venue provided an opportunity for broad discussion on the creation of an international Special Interest Group (SIG) within the ATA. Mr. Doarn will serve as the interim Chair of this SIG.

2003 Capitol Hill Telehealth & Healthcare Informatics Series

MITAC is co-sponsoring the 2003 Capitol Hill Telehealth & Healthcare Informatics Series. This is the 10th Anniversary Series of educational sessions on behalf of the Steering Committee on Telehealth and Healthcare Informatics. This effort, coordinated by Health Tech Strategies of McLean, VA, provides an opportunity for discipline experts in telemedicine and telehealth to provided a status on programs and leading edge technologies to key decision makers on Capitol Hill.

During 2003, a series of speakers representing a plethora of areas in telemedicine and telehealth will participate in sessions from March through October. These sessions are held during the lunchtime to accommodate many individual schedules. The majority will be held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building or in the U.S. Capitol Building. As a co-sponsor, MITAC will have the opportunity to participate as both speaker and attendee. MITAC will receive a final report from Health Tech Strategies at the conclusion of this series.

First Annual Governor's Conference on Covering the Uninsured

On March 10, 2003 Mr. Russell Hummel of MITAC and Ms. Debbie Justis of the VCUHS Telemedicine participated in the First Annual Governor's Conference on Covering the Uninsured. The focus of the conference was on the needs of the uninsured in Virginia, and to show strategies that work. The first half of the day provided high caliber speakers, including a taped message from Governor Warner, as well as ideas from Jane H. Woods, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Sheldon Retchin, VCUHS Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Finnerty, Director of DMAS. Juan Williams, political analyst and Washington Post Correspondent, offered many ideas on how to make the case for the uninsured appealing to media. The afternoon offered smaller breakout sessions, including representatives from many of the foundations who sponsor health care initiatives.

MITAC and VCUHS Telemedicine are working on a project for the Emergency Department, which will eventually lead to a reduced volume of patients in our safety net facility. This can directly affect the care for uninsured Virginians by reducing waiting times in Emergency Departments, and reducing cost by avoiding transport. A prototype of the equipment MITAC has assembled to support this project was displayed at the conference. A number of individuals stopped at the MITAC exhibit to learn more about MITAC.

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