Telehealth and gpTRAC at the Minnesota State Fair!

Once again, gpTRAC will be demonstrating telehealth at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair.  As in years past, several dermatology specialists will be volunteering and providing screenings via telehealth technologies.  Come check it out!  You’ll find us in the University of Minnesota building.

gpTRAC will be available at several times throughout the fair.  These are all one-hour sessions:

  • Friday, August 22, at 1:00 pm
  • Saturday, August 23, at 10:00 am
  • Tuesday, August 26, at 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday, August 27, at Noon
  • Thursday, August 28, at Noon and 2:00 pm
  • Friday, August 29, at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Teledermatology at the 2013 State Fair: In Pictures

Zoi used a portable exam camera to present fairgoer skin concerns to UMN Physicians on the other end of a secure videoconferencing connection.

From the UMN Physicians end dermatologists were able to examine images in real time and discuss skin concerns with fairgoers. Pictured here are gpTRAC staff and volunteers, where the fairgoer/area of concern would be.

UMN Physicians were able to speak with fairgoers directly via videoconference during and after providing teledermatology screenings to answer questions and provide recommendations for follow up. In total, 159 fairgoers received teledermatology screenings at the 2013 MN State Fair.

Teledermatology at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair

At this year’s Minnesota State Fair gpTRAC partnered with University of Minnesota physicians to provide fairgoers with free teledermatology screenings.  In total gpTRAC connected 182 patients to dermatologists using a videoconferencing system and a hand held exam camera.  Thousands more were able to watch the sessions in action.  Many of the fairgoers said they hadn’t made it a priority to get screened until they came upon our booth, and many passerbys said it was their first experience seeing telemedicine in action.  To date, gpTRAC has showcased teledermatology, pulmonology, and stroke screenings.  Again this year, the gpTRAC booth was a great sucess, making it our seventh year hosting a telehealth awareness booth at the Minnesota State Fair! 

Having telemedicine demonstrations at the State Fair is a great opportunity to introduce Minnesotans to the possibilities telehealth services can bring to them and their communities.    Special Thank You to the following dermatologists who generously donated their time to provide free teledermatology screenings to fairgoers:

Dr. Spencer Holmes
Dr. Bethany Cook (resident)
Dr. Bart Endrizzi
Dr. Jennifer Lee
Dr. Kimberly Bohjanen
Dr. Neal Foman
Dr. Sanober Amin (resident)
Dr. Maria Hordinsky
Dr. Irving Katz

If you didn’t join us this year, make sure to stop by in 2013. See you at the Fair!

Food, Fun and Dermatology Screenings

More than 240 attendees at this year’s Minnesota State Fair received free dermatology screenings thanks to the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (gpTRAC) and the University of Minnesota.  The telehealth awareness booth was designed to educate fairgoers about telemedicine services while calling attention to the dangers of skin cancer and the importance of regular dermatology screenings to monitor for warning signs of the disease.

Nearly 20 percent of fairgoers screened were advised to seek further evaluation for skin cancer.  Seventeen were suspected of skin cancer and twenty-seven for suspected pre-cancer skin conditions.

“Many of these fairgoers hadn’t made it a priority to get screened for skin cancer until they came upon our booth.  I think this demonstrates that telehealth services can help increase access to specialty care, like dermatological screenings, to ultimately help reduce overall healthcare costs through earlier diagnosis, management and treatment of disease,” said Stuart Speedie, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Director of gpTRAC.  “Clearly, we accomplished something very positive at the State Fair and hopefully helped prevent the advancement of a dangerous disease in several Minnesotans.”

Telehealth offers increased healthcare service delivery to medically-underserved communities by connecting patients to specialists via technology.  More convenient access to care minimizes patient travel time, reduces out-of-pocket costs and increases the likelihood that patients obtain care when they need it.

During a telemedicine consultation, which can be conducted in a growing number of clinics across the state, a patient is connected to a specialist who is in a separate location via video. A nurse is often on hand with the patient to conduct physical exam tasks as requested by the specialist. Cameras and other monitoring tools allow the specialist to see on screen exactly what the nurse is seeing in person. In addition to skin cancer screenings, telehealth can be used for mental health evaluations, orthopedic consults, management of chronic diseases and a wide range of other medical services.

“This event wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of dermatologists at the University of Minnesota who volunteered 140 hours of time to conduct free screenings during the fair.  With their help raising awareness of telehealth, we hope that access to telehealth services will continue to grow across the state of Minnesota,” added Speedie.

The gpTRAC is one of eleven federally designated telehealth resource centers in the nation supported by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  Serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, the gpTRAC strives to promote health care services that take advantage of modern telecommunications technologies.  For more information, visit accesstelehealth.org or gptrac.org.

Click here to see a video of the state fair telehealth visits.