The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s Center for Telehealth and Cybermedicine Research has been awarded US$ 15.5 million from the Federal Communications Commission for the design, construction, operation and uation of a Southwest Telehealth Access Grid.
Telehealth and telemedicine services can provide patients in rural areas access to medical specialties in areas like oncology, cardiology, pediatrics and radiology — in some instances without leaving their homes or communities. It will allow patients to heal and recover in a more familiar environment. The system also could be transitioned for emergency use in the event of a natural or other disaster. The grid will be developed as part of the federal commission’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program, a three-year, US$ 417 million nationwide project that will build an infrastructure for a network of 69 statewide or regional broadband telehealth sites. The program will use broadband capabilities for sharing telemedicine clinical services across sites and will provide education and training programs to rural health care professionals. More than 500 health-related facilities in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Utah, including Indian Health Services, ultimately will be served by the Southwest Telehealth Access Grid. The grid is a partnership between the University of New Mexico, the Arizona Telemedicine Program and the Southwest Indian Health Service Telehealth Consortium and associated tribes. The consortium comprises the Center for High Performance Computing, the university’s Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, New Mexico State University, the state Department of Health, the Arizona Telemedicine Program, Holy Cross Hospital, Presbyterian Medical Services, Sangre de Cristo Community Health Partnership and the Southwest Indian Health Service.