CCRDF Hosts International Conference on Telemedicine: Connecting Ukraine to the Global Medical Network

May 10, 2012

On November 21, 2011, CCRDF President and Chairman Dr. Zenon Matkiwsky announced the closing of CCRDF and the launch of the final program – telemedicine.  Since that date, all 11 select partner hospitals have been equipped with the necessary technology.  To supplement the final program, CCRDF organized and hosted a 2-day international conference on telemedicine in Kyiv, Ukraine.  CCRDF believes it is vital to not only provide the equipment but also to educate today’s medical professionals so that they may better familiarize themselves with current medical approaches to treating patients and to learn how to work with the sophisticated equipment procured for their respective hospitals

The April conference, titled “Connecting Ukraine to the Global Medical Network,” was held at the Ukrainian Children’s Cardiac Center in Kyiv, Ukraine.  The objectives of the conference were to create a forum for doctors to recognize and understand the maximum potential of telemedicine within various fields of medicine; to provide a comprehensive understanding of what telemedicine is and how to use it; and to provide various examples of how telemedicine is coordinated and managed in international medical communities with the potential to adopt these protocols in Ukraine.

Focusing on effective ways for the Ukrainian medical community to apply telemedicine, the main goal of the program was to provide better quality medical care to patients. Created with healthcare professionals in mind, the conference was designed to offer a venue for learning and networking, as well as foster discussions about advancements in medical technology.

More than 50 neonatologists, obstetricians, pediatric cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, ultrasound specialists, and IT technicians arrived from Chernihiv, Chernivtsi, Donetsk, Kherson, Kyiv, Lutsk, Lviv, Poltava, Rivne, and Volodymyrets. These participants represented the hospitals that received the telemedicine equipment from CCRDF. 

The immediate former Chairman of the Board of the American Telemedicine Association, Dr. Dale Alverson, attended the conference as the keynote speaker and lecturer.  Due to his expertise as the Medical Director of the Center for Telehealth & Cybermedicine Research at the University of New Mexico and his experience in helping to set up telemedicine systems throughout the world, including Ecuador and Nepal, Dr. Alverson informed the physicians of the benefit of telemedicine and the maximum potential for telemedicine as the leading healthcare tool of the future.

International lecturers also included Michael Manley, RN, the Outreach Director of the Center for Distance Health from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association who was connected to the conference in real-time via telemedicine capabilities. 

Dr. Illya Yemets, a renowned infant cardiac surgeon and director of the Ukrainian Children’s Cardiac Center, addressed the physicians about his experience working with telemedicine at the Center and demonstrated how telemedicine benefits the continuing medical education programs.  Dr. Yemets performed surgery which was broadcast live via telemedicine equipment to the physicians in the conference hall. This presentation of modern technology allows for doctors, nurses, and medical students to monitor, consult, and observe real-time medical procedures. 

The second day of the conference was dedicated to the practical aspect of using telemedicine.  All the participants of the conference were transported to the nearest beneficiary of CCRDF’s program – the Kyiv City Children’s Hospital #2.  There, CCRDF organized a hands-on training seminar for the doctors, which was conducted by the equipment manufacturer. 

To add to the comprehensive approach of the conference and program, CCRDF planned a supplementary program for IT engineers from all partner hospitals in order for them to understand the technical aspects of telemedicine and to speak with experienced engineers about troubleshooting the sophisticated equipment.

Dr. Alverson reflected on the conference by saying, “I very much appreciated the opportunity to participate in the conference and to share our passion for the value that telehealth can bring in serving the health needs of people around the world. I was very impressed by so many things in Ukraine, including the telemedicine activities already put in place, in large part due to your efforts through CCRDF.”

With the help of existing institutions which can become exemplary models for constructing the telemedicine sphere in Ukraine, CCRDF is confident that this telemedicine program will play a leading role in advancing the healthcare system in Ukraine.

The conference was made possible thanks to the CCRDF National Office, Rochester Chapter of CCRDF, and in-kind services and products provided by InterContinental Kyiv, Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, and Guliev Wine.  

The equipment provided for the telemedicine program was made possible thanks to the CCRDF National Office and the final donations made by CCRDF constituents of which 100% was earmarked for the completion of the telemedicine program valued at a total of $721,064.