On September 10th, the Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center (AHEC) hosted the 2017 Hawaii Health Workforce Summit. The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center’s booth received over 215 walkthroughs from individuals who were looking to learn more about telehealth. PBTRC staff shared telehealth information with Doctors, Dentists, Social Workers, and other allied health professionals. The PBTRC’s co-director, Dr. Deborah Birkmire-Peters, also spoke on a panel about rural health. Other panel topics included oral health, geriatrics, and insurance updates.More
On May 4th, 2017, Dr. Norman Okamura, Principal Investigator, Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center (PBTRC), testified at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Telemedicine in the VA. Dr. Okamura noted that the VA is the national leader in telemedicine utilization and the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. He also highlighted the need for increased collaboration with the VA and other agencies such as the Department of Defense and academic institutions, and further advocated for increased synergy with HRSA funded Telehealth Resource Centers that serve all 50 states and Pacific Island territories.
Dr. Okamura provided his perspective on the importance of telemedicine in the Pacific Islands Region. He discussed how the vast distance and the numerous times zones that separate the Pacific Island Territories from the United States further increases the need for telehealth services for access to care for Veterans living in the territories. Finally, Dr. Okamura highlighted the ongoing challenges for veterans in the Pacific Island Freely Associated States (FAS). Under current law the VA is unable to provide these veterans services in FAS where they live, not even by telehealth, because the FAS jurisdictions are considered foreign countries. Dr. Okamura’s testimony suggests several options for the VA to improve services to the FAS veterans including the authorization of Veteran Health Benefits to provide telehealth services to the veterans who live in the FAS.More
The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center recently provided technical support for the Pacific Basin Medical Association (PBMA) conference in Majuro, held from October 3 to 5, 2016. The conference came two weeks after the PBTRC hosted the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) Telehealth Champions Building and Planning Workshop in Honolulu. At the USAPI Workshop, participants were given a demonstration of video teleconferencing (VTC) technology. After learning about desktop VTC, the facilitators, Dr. Tom Jack, Dr. Robert Maddison, and Dr. Kino Reuben of the PBMA conference decided to use the technology to allow others to attend the conference remotely and to facilitate presentations from remote locations. In order to ensure that the technical aspects of the conference ran smoothly, PMBA invited Jose Aquino from PBTRC to be on site in Majuro to assist with setting up the desktop video teleconferencing as a communication platform for the conference. Miguel Brostrom, a PBTRC staff member in Honolulu, monitored the conference and assisted with troubleshooting. Prior to the event, PBTRC also coordinated multiple system tests. Christina Higa, the Co-program Director of the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center gave a presentation via teleconference on an introduction to telehealth and summary of discussions and plans that resulted from the recent USAPI Telehealth Workshop held in Honolulu.
One fun aspect of the conference was that Zumba sessions were delivered via video teleconferencing. Dr. Jack mentioned this as an idea during the Telehealth Workshop in Honolulu. The Zumba demonstration via video teleconferencing enabled participants to evaluate the quality of the video connection. Even with participants moving and dancing, it was still possible to see their movements clearly. Christina Higa asked the doctors in the room whether the video performance was good enough to observe patient gait movement; overwhelmingly they agreed. Congratulations to PBMA for making good use of video teleconferencing to expand access and participation in the conference!More
On September 10th, the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center had a booth at the 2016 Hawaii Health Workforce Summit, organized by the Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center (AHEC). The booth received over 100 walkthroughs from individuals interested in learning about telehealth and workforce development. In addition to the booth, Christina Higa, the co-director of the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center, gave a presentation that provided an update on telehealth in Hawaii, including an overview of Act 226 that was recently signed into law by Governor Ige. The presentation was followed by a panel with Hawaii’s Project ECHO that sparked some interesting discourse about telehealth. Other presentations from the Summit included topics on oral health, inter-professional education, and the state of the workforce in Hawaii. Several presentations also focused on health care transformation in terms of payment reform.