UPMC to consult in Afghanistan

Occupational health meets telemedicine
By Bernie Monegain
06:29 AM
UPMC telemedicine program tapped for medical consults in Afghanistan

Onsite Occupational Health and Safety has tapped UPMC to provide second opinions and medical consultations in Afghanistan via secure telemedicine services.

UPMC physicians will offer their services in dermatology, infectious disease, neurology and orthopedics, although other service lines may be added later. Onsite OHS, which serves defense, energy and manufacturing customers worldwide, expects to expand UPMC's consultations to other countries in southwest Asia and potentially to several U.S. states.

"As one of the nation's top 10 medical centers and a global leader in the use of telemedicine, UPMC will help us to bring world-class care to patients, regardless of time or distance," said Kyle G. Johnson, president and CEO of Onsite OHS, in a news release. "Under the first agreement of its kind for Onsite OHS, these 'virtual' consultations will be a valuable addition to the care that we offer to our patients all over the world."

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UPMC physicians will provide their consultations starting in March to Onsite OHS physicians, and those doctors will remain responsible for patient care. Using a Web-based telemedicine system developed at UPMC's Technology Development Center, UPMC's physicians can provide Onsite OHS with a consult within hours of notification and receipt of necessary patient medical information.

"With its focus on excellence in patient care and unparalleled responsiveness to patients and clients, Onsite OHS shares some of the same core values that drive the world-class physicians of UPMC," said Andrew Watson, MD, chief medical information officer for UPMC's International and Commercial Services Division, in a press statement. "This collaboration will build on our extensive telemedicine efforts, part of UPMC Global Care, which provides patients worldwide with a variety of convenient ways to access our highly specialized care."

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UPMC's rapidly expanding telemedicine program for adults and children encompasses nearly 40 service lines and serves patients in India, Singapore, Kazakhstan, China, Ireland, Italy, Colombia and Mexico. According to Watson, the program enables better chronic disease management, improved access to specialists for rural and remote areas and enhanced education for healthcare providers.