Local health care facilities connect with telemedicine services

— Telemedicine services offer connectivity to hospitals across the state to provide easier communication and easier access to patients files.

Hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices throughout the northern New York will be able to connect with greater precision to better treat patients through the ACTION network. The telemedicine and telehealth service should begin in late November.

The Adirondack–Champlain Telemedicine Information Network, ACTION, is a regional initiative formed to create a fiber optic telecommunications and telemedicine network that connects eight participating hospitals, 40 primary care facilities affiliated with these hospitals and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Health Services facility.

The initiative is collaboration between the hospitals as well as multiple telecom carriers.

“We are attached via a fiber network that allows for the secure transfer and sharing of data in a cost effective manner, as well as the ability to leverage telemedicine,” said Darlene Raynsford, director of communications, marketing and public relations at Glens Falls Hospital.

Through the telemedicine program, hospitals and healthcare facilities would have the ability to consult via video conference through facilities that are connected.

“This also establishes a significant broadband presence in the respective rural communities where there has been little or no high-speed Internet access in the past,” Raynsford said.

The $8,998,004 program was been funded by the Rural Healthcare Pilot Program (RHCCP) grant.

The network encompasses Warren, Essex, Clinton, Franklin, Rensselaer, Saratoga, St. Lawrence and Washington counties in New York and extends to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt.

“We are confident that this new fiber optic telecommunications system will improve health care quality, patient safety and maximize cost efficiencies — and the timing couldn’t be better,” said Joan McFaul, vice president and chief information officer at Glens Falls Hospital.

U.S. Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh), state Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) all played a role in gaining funding for the project.

To provide the most cost effective access to all 49 participants, the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) will use multiple local service provider networks to connect ACTION member locations throughout the region. DANC’s working relationships for the ACTION network include these service providers: ION, Westelcom, PrimeLink, Tech Valley Communications, and SLIC Network Solutions.

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