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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government

Volume VII, Issue 7 July/August 2004

Beach Sand

PDF Version

Maine Telemedicine Services

By Ron Emerson

On 3/17/04 Governor Baldacci signed an executive order, which requires, in part, that information describing the availability and use of video- conferencing equipment for state offices be disseminated, and that agency and department heads encourage the use of technologies that reduce state employee vehicle miles traveled.

See for a map which highlights televideo sites throughout Maine.

Maine Telemedicine Services, a not-for profit agency of the Regional Medical Center of Lubec, currently works with more than two hundred sites throughout the state of Maine. Videoconferencing and telemedicine are being utilized by many governmental and non-governmental[1] organizations to provide a cost effective way of dealing with the large geographical barriers we face in our large, rural state. Currently, state organizations in the network include offices within the Departments of Health and Human Services, and Corrections.

Video conferencing is being used for multiple purposes to include administrative, educational, social service and clinical telemedicine. Due to the geographic spread of Maine state government sites, video conferencing has been crucial to providing an effective means of communicating. Education over video is performed regularly. All video units within the network have the capability of running power-point, VHS and DVD presentations to other sites.

PC Video Conference

With interactive video’s visual and audio capability, this provides an effective means of providing education at a distance. Social service type services are also provided via interactive video. One example exists between the Department of Health and Human Services’ and the Pine Tree Society’s Video Relay Interpreting Project. The project utilizes the current video infrastructure to provide American Sign Language Interpreting to deaf and hard of hearing clients in a timely and cost efficient manner. Regardless if the deaf or hard of hearing client has scheduled an appointment, or is a walk in, the technology offers interpretive services in timely fashion.

Clinical Telemedicine continues to develop within the state of Maine. Medical specialists are generally located in the larger urban areas. Telemedicine provides a means of increasing access to rural areas that previously didn’t have the option of receiving specialty care in their local community. Maine Department of Corrections is developing telemedicine applications to better serve prisoners throughout the state. Many private organizations utilize telemedicine to offer services that include psychiatry, primary care, pediatric neurology, genetics, wound care, endocrinology, mental health counseling and adolescent psychiatry.

[1] Non-governmental agencies include hospitals, rural health clinics, private mental health organizations, physicians’ offices, social service agencies and other private entities.

If your organization is interested in video conferencing, please feel free to contact Ron Emerson, Director of Field Operations for Maine Telemedicine Services by calling 287-4060.

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