Expert Panel to Discuss Healthcare Needs and Challenges at Broadband Telemedicine Summit

The opening panel of the Broadband Telemedicine Summit, set for May 20 in St. Louis, Mo., will feature experts who will discuss healthcare needs and challenges faced in the advancement and adoption of telemedicine.

Headed by state broadband initiatives Broadband Illinois and MoBroadbandNow, the inaugural event kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at the Wool Ballroom on the campus of St. Louis University with breakfast, registration and vendor walkthroughs.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon have been invited to give opening remarks, before the keynote address offered by Dr. Curtis Lowery, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who will speak on the ANGELS program.

The anticipated panel “Identifying Healthcare Needs and Challenges” will kickoff at 10 a.m.

Dr. Thomas Hale, executive medical director for Mercy’s Telehealth Services, will speak on the subject from a health system prospective. 

In describing Mercy’s vision for providing telehealth support throughout Mercy’s system of 32 hospitals and more than 300 outpatient facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, Dr. Hale said, “At Mercy, we believe quality care should not be based on your zip code. Through relationships, training and technology, we help your teams extend the most advanced care to the people in your community, wherever and whenever they need it.”

During the summit, Dr. Hale will describe how the Mercy Health System is using telehealth to effectively and efficiently deliver health care to Mercy communities, large and small. This new care model combines people and technology to extend Mercy’s reach and services beyond the walls of doctors’ offices, hospital campuses and other traditional facilities. To support these telehealth efforts, Mercy is developing a $90 million virtual care center. The center will be staffed by doctors and nurses and linked electronically to Mercy hospitals, clinics and even patient homes via telemedicine technology. In 2006, Mercy began its first telemedicine initiative by monitoring over 400 ICU beds in Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. Today, Mercy uses telemedicine to:

  •  Bring hard-to-find specialists to Mercy hospitals, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  •  Ensure that Mercy patients get the care they need, exactly when and where they need
     it – in their communities and in their homes.
  • Provide needed relief for Mercy specialists, allowing them to enjoy a better quality of life   and greater job satisfaction. 

Prior to being named to executive medical director for Mercy’s Telehealth Services in 2009, Dr. Hale maintained a patient practice for 23 years and served as president of Mercy Medical Group for 15 years. He and other area physicians established this integrated primary care group in association with Mercy in 1994. Dr. Hale served as the physician leader for Mercy’s implementation of a fully integrated electronic health record system covering more than 20 hospitals and 500 ambulatory sites. He holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Saint Louis University. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia Medical School. He completed his internal medicine internship and residency at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. In 2011, he earned a Master’s degree in medical informatics from Northwestern University.

Pat Schou, Executive Director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network will speak on rural operations. 

The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network is an organization that strengthens Illinois critical access hospitals, thereby ensuring access to appropriate health care services for rural residents. The group is strongly focused on leveraging broadband technologies for the improvement of medical care in Illinois. 

Nancy Kaszak, Telehealth Consultant, will round off the discussion by talking about how telehealth is moving into the mainstream of medical care.

Kaszak has worked the last three years in various capacities studying how to advance telehealth in Illinois.  She has studied programs throughout the nation administered by hospitals, universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. These programs were designed to provide healthcare access to unserved and underserved communities. The programs encompassed a broad range of healthcare specialty services.

Kaszak brings to telehealth a breath of perspective.  As a state legislator, she learned the process of developing governmental policy and programs. As chief legal counsel for the Chicago Park District, she learned the challenges of managing an organization with 5,000 employees and 32 unions at scattered sites throughout Chicago. As a hospital board member, she learned the challenges of hospital administrators operating in a health care environment over which they had little control. she has experience successfully leading large coalitions of statewide organizations, with frequently divergent interests.

Kaszak was honored last year when The Institute of Medicine of Chicago named her a fellow, in recognition of her work to advance telehealth in Illinois.

More information on the Broadband Telemedcinine Summit will be released weekly.

Click here to see the complete agenda.

For full conference information, including registration rates, session information and more, visit

Sponsorship opportunities for the Broadband Telemedicine Summit are still available. Organizations interested in sponsoring the event should contact

Sponsors Include: 

·      Bluebird Network
·      Computer Banc
·      McDonough Telephone Cooperative
·      Global Med-Telemedicine
·      Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
·      MediaCom
·      AT&T Illinois and Missouri
·      Charter Business
·      Microsoft
·      Polycom
·      Tele-Health Resource Centers
·      USDA

Tags: broadband telemedicine summit, mobroadbandnow, Telehealth

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