Nevada Teleclinic offers dermatology care

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

By Steve Moyer Nevada Daily Mail The Nevada Regional Medical Center Dermatology Teleclinic has been operating for about a month at the Nevada Telecenter, and Dale Potter, assistant director of the Missouri Telehealth Network, was on hand to review the progress. Potter oversees the operation of several teleclinics around the state. "Normally we do everything, the installation of the T3 line, the installation of the equipment. Here, we didn't have to do anything. This site has the best partnering with local organizations I've seen. Other places have at most two partner agencies. Here there are nine. This is wonderful," he said. He also noted that the mission of the Telehealth Network is to provide access to health care to those who currently don't have it. Potter compared the network to an automobile. "It's not health care itself, it's a way to have health care available. It's like having a car drive you to where you can get the care you need." Potter praised Nevada area health care providers for the wide range of services available locally. "Telemedicine lends itself to many different kinds of medical services, radiology and psychiatry are two. It so happens that the one need that isn't being filled in Nevada is dermatology so that's why the teleclinic is specializing in that." The teleclinic has been in operation for a few months now and Potter said that all of the patients have been satisfied with the service. "I talked to a lady from Nevada who was seen in the clinic and she would have had to go to Columbia, a several hour drive, for a 10 minute visit then drive several hours back. It took her just a few minutes drive to get to the clinic and she was seen right away. She really appreciated the time savings." Potter said that one of the advantages of the teleclinic and others like it is that patients seem to feel less intimidated by doctors they see on the television than by doctors in person. "They can be more open and not feel the pressure they do in face-to-face visits. The doctors aren't as intimidating. I expected that from young people but it's apparent even with older patients." The equipment the teleclinic uses is very advanced and Potter said it brought doctors new insights into their patients' conditions and needs. "We have a stethoscope that is very sensitive, so sensitive that physicians using it for the first time have to figure out if the new sounds they are hearing indicate a change in the patients condition or one that was there all along but undetected. The high-definition camera we use can magnify up to 40 times, it can operate as a small microscope. We can adjust the light spectrum to make skin irregularities more visible," Potter said. The teleclinic can also be used by doctors to keep their education up-to-date. "We haven't done it yet, but we could provide medical education for doctors or give a patient education about their condition. There is a program called grand rounds that we could televise so doctors around the state could sit in and participate. It would be a great time savings for a doctor to keep up on their education without spending the time traveling." Potter said that working with the Telehealth Network was a real pleasure and that he was proud of the work it does. The network received the American Telemedicine Association 2003 award for best program of the year. "It's a real pleasure to work with people who care and go out of their way to help. Working with the telecenter in Nevada is another," he said. "It's obvious that people in Nevada care."

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