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Telemedicine in California Becoming Tele-Reality

Telemedicine may seem futuristic, but it’s not. Not anymore.

“The good news is, at CTN [the California Telehealth Network], we have actually activated sites,” CTN Executive Director Eric Brown said. “Which is huge. This is really huge for us.”

Brown said approximately 25 sites have activated their connections since Dec. 1, and that’s just the run-up to a much bigger launch.

“Right now they can all talk with each other,” Brown said. “We’re now putting in place the system so that people can, in HIPAA-compliant networks, talk with the outside world. We need a secure gateway to do that.”

That secure electronic gateway “should be up in the next few weeks,” Brown said. “And then we’re on track to place 20 to 30 sites a month, moving forward.”

So far, about 150 sites have signed up to be part of the network, Brown said.

CTN provides equipment such as computers, information kiosks and wireless patient-monitoring systems, Brown said. But the big-ticket item is the low-cost broadband circuits that enable telemedicine communication.

Brown said CTN has reopened the application process, and it has one more big push coming up.

“In February and March, the grant team will go on the road for informational meetings,” Brown said. “We want to make sure we get out and talk to as many folks as possible, to get as many folks involved as we can.”



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