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TELEMEDICINE PILOT PROJECT 

 

Visit Sakha representatives

 

A group of medical doctors from the Sakha Republic came to share experiences using telemedicine technologies in Washington, Alaska and Gangwon-do (Korea) in April 2010.

The program of their visit was as follows:

  • April 25-27, 2010.  University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, meet Dr T. Norris, Dr C. Towle, Dr M. Atkinson and others.
  • April 28-30, 2010. They visited the Northern Forum Secretariat to discuss the project implementation, and met with the Alaska Tribal Health Consortium, with Dr. S. Ferguson and his colleagues, and attended the Alaska Rural Health Care conference.
  • May 1-5, 2010. The doctors visited the Gangwon-do Telemedicine centers in Chuncheon, Gangneung, Pyeongchang, and meet the Vice-Governor of Gangwon Province, Head of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Ahn and other physicians.

 

For more information, contact A. Bozhedonova at abozhedonova@northernforum.org

 

Background

 

 

During the Arctic Council's ICT Conference in Iceland in 2003, a number of regions decided to cooperate in the area of telemedicine, particularly to fill the needs of more remote regions in the Arctic.

 

The Northern Forum is cooperating with the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) to implement a strategic and innovative solution to address health care needs of two regions in the Russian Arctic: the Republic of Sakha and Khanty-Mansiisk region. The proposed project is aimed to link public health facilities in small villages with hospitals and specialized medical facilities to address medical needs, establish diagnoses as well as assist in the formulation of disease prevention and control strategies.

 

Phases I and II of this pilot project have been successfully accomplished in 2004.

 

  • Phase I. Initial project team meeting and review of telemedicine opportunities in the North. Attendance at the International Telehealth Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, (March 2004);
  • Phase II. Visit by Alaska telemedicine and communication specialists to rural/remote villages in Khanty-Mansiysk and Sakha Republic, Russia, to identify potential for transfer of Alaskan technology (September 2004).

 

Phase I resulted in the establishment of a working group to implement project activities and includes representatives from the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN), the Ugra Technology Institute in Khanty-Mansiisk and representatives from the Sakha Center for Medicine in the Sakha Republic. During Phase II four representatives from the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) traveled to Khanty-Mansiisk and the Sakha Republic, where they conducted a detailed assessment of the existing health care system, clinical needs, and local telecommunications facilities. As a result of Phase II assessment results, it was determined that telemedicine technology transfer is feasible provided that there is sufficient funding for project implementation.

 

 

 

Sakha - Matvei Nikolaev (left) with his Alaskan colleagues

Chersky, Sakha - checking the equipment

 

  

Telemedicine technology will enable physicians to provide consultations, collect and share uniform laboratory data and medical records. Telemedicine technology will create access to sustained health care services in a number of rural communities of the Sakha Republic and Khanty-Mansiisk regions. Once implemented, it will serve the needs of approximately 30,000 people. Telemedicine technology will accelerate the sustainability of healthy communities, and increase the affordability of healthcare services in low-resource settings. It will provide broader healthcare coverage without solely relying on in-person medical care. In addition, it is anticipated that the Sakha and Khanty-Mansiisk model will be replicated in other regions of Russia.

 

  Pilot village on the river in Khanty-Mansiysk

 Trainees in Chersky, Sakha

 

 

In 2007, the Sakha government tendered the provision of telemedicine equipment in several remote villages in the Republic. At the same time, necessary steps are being taken to extend broadband capacity in the outlying villages. The same year, Khanty-Mansiysk completed a telemedicine network that links 52 villages to doctors and specialists in larger cities. There is also now a telemedicine-equiped barge that travels along the river system to remote villages.