The Advertiser covers a new telemedicine project at Stuller today. The project at Stuller is the first fruits of a more complex project built on LUS Fiber—LUS' internal 100 meg intraconnection makes the two-way HD video that is the central feature of such a system simply not an issue; any off-the-shelf equipment can be used. Any medical practice that wants to make use of the infrastructure and any business that has LUS broadband can come in at a minimal cost. The hope of the program is to develop more and more varied clinics that rely on off-site expertise using the infrastructure that Stuller is piloting. A company the size of Stuller makes a great anchor tenet for such a project. Once it's up and running reliably and well-staffed adding additional virtual sites is easy—smaller companies coming onboard incrementally won't stress a system that starts with 12000 employees. That's an impressive base number especially since this is not meant to replace your general practitioner or specialist physicians. This is all about palliative care of minor illness and preventive medicine. Expanding the numbers in the program is only sensible business practice; the larger the base, the smaller the overhead maintenance will be.
There's a perhaps not yet realized potential for the school system as well. New superintendent Cooper has made it clear that he wants to expand the already overburdened school nurse system into something much closer to community clinics either onsite or attached to schools. Telemedicine is one way to practically bring specialists and the children's primary care physicians into the loop without breaking the bank. And the school system is on LUS Fiber at 100 megs per node throughout the parish.
Senior care centers would likewise be prime candidates for expansion of the idea. Patients and caregivers could have much easier and more timely access to advanced care.
There is lots of room for good things to emerge from the ease with which advanced services can be offered when the capacity of the basic network and policy of unconstrained internal bandwidth means that ALL the potential users have easy, cheap, direct access to all the capacity they need. If Lafayette emerges as a leader in practical, widespread telemedicine it will be because all the basic infrastructure is lying here ready to use. The big pipe is open. We only have to connect the dots.
See also: The Advocate article which provides a fuller background.