The free meetings will feature speakers from the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and health professionals from Montana, Washington Utah, Virginia and Nevada, said Kim Obbink, director of MSU Extended University.
The meetings on "imagining the digital healthcare future in the rural west" will investigate not just telecommunications in medicine, but its application in the delivery of rural health care. Physicians and telecommunications experts from Flathead, Gallatin, Park, and Silver Bow counties will participate in a panel describing current efforts to use electronic medical information systems in Montana.
Among those participating in the meetings will be Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who is a featured speaker at 1:30 p.m. Friday, July 7. He is expected to speak on the importance of telemedicine for rural communities, the communications industry in the 21st century and the role of telecommunications and technology in emergency preparedness.
In addition, Lisa Dolan of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will speak at 12:30 p.m. Saturday July 8. Dolan, a registered nurse, is senior adviser for community-based health information technology at HHS.
Tom Norris, University of Washington vice dean for academic affairs, will speak Friday morning on national rural healthcare perspectives. Formerly, Norris was associate dean of the UW School of Medicine and at one time a family physician in Helena. Other topics over the course of the conference include rural education, telemedicine, public health preparedness, federal resources and initiatives on rural healthcare.
The public is welcome to attend the free meetings. Organizers are asking those who plan to attend to pre-register using a Web-link at http://eu.montana.edu/digitalhealthcare.
The meetings will take place in the Burns Technology Center, which is located in the Engineering Physical Sciences building on the south side of the MSU campus. The event is sponsored by a number of health and technology organizations.