Wednesday, October 21, 1998

Fox joins Albany Med in program

Staff Report

ONEONTA Earlier this year, a newly formed affiliation between A.O. Fox Hospital and Albany Medical Center brought the two health-care institutions closer together.

Now, thanks to a state grant, they will move closer still.

Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, announced Tuesday that the state will provide Fox with $100,000 to set up a telemedicine program between Oneonta and Albany.

Telemedicine employs advanced communications systems such as video conferencing to allow a health-care provider to examine a patient without being physically present. It is a relatively new and evolving medical practice.

"Our telemedicine program with Albany Med will allow physicians and nurses to take advantage of education opportunities without leaving Oneonta," said John Remillard, president at Fox. "This technology will also enable our patients to receive consultations with Albany specialists, again without leaving Oneonta."

Remillard said Fox will begin with hook-ups at its main campus and at the FoxCare Center in the town of Oneonta. He said the program should be running within 30 to 60 days.

Albany Medical Center already is part of a telemedicine network in New York called the Adirondack Area Network. Remillard said Fox will be linked into that network when it joins with Albany Medical Center.

"We're very, very pleased with the support that Assemblyman Magee has shown for our patients," Remillard said.

Fox is not the first area hospital to launch a telemedicine program. In 1993, Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown began a telemedicine project that today links its regional clinics and hospitals for diagnostic and educational purposes.

Bassett recently announced that is beginning to employ telemedicine practices in patients' homes, as well.

Remillard said Fox plans to eventually expand its telemedicine program to include similar applications. He said the state grant, along with money provided by Albany Medical Center, will cover the initial equipment and operational costs.

Original Article