A North Country group hopes to construct a telemedicine network in the Adirondack Park.
The Development Authority of the North Country says the network will improve communications between health care providers and cut down on inefficiencies.
Dave Wolf is general manager of the telecomm division at DANC. He says a telemedicine network is essentially a high-speed private network that directly links health care organizations across the Park.
"Basically, it's a dedicated network for clinics, hospitals, and, in the future, some physicians offices so they can connect together for teleradiology applications, electronic medical records, and those sorts of things," Wolf said.
The project is being funded by a grant secured by the Albany-based SUNY Research Foundation. The grant - which totals $7.65 million - is now being handled by the Adirondack-Champlain Telemedicine Information Network, Wolf says.
Wolf estimates that the total project will cost about $9 million and cover a 49-site network across the Adirondack North Country.
"First we have to install fiber-optic connections to every location, so we'll build fiber to every one of the 49 sites," he said. "At each hospital, we will be installing some electronics, basically a firewall and a switch and fiber distribution panels, things of that nature."
Private providers like ION, Primelink, and Westelcom will provide coverage at each site, Wolf adds.
North Country Congressman Bill Owens says the new telemedicine network for the Adirondacks will "further improve access to quality health care" in northern New York.
"This is another step in the right direction to improve health care for our friends and neighbors, and to contribute to the reduction of cost in health care in a constructive and important way," he said in an email.
Wolf says construction of the network should start in May, but that is dependent on how long it takes for the funding to come through.