telehealth groundbreaking ceremony
Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis, leads a group in commemorating the site of the new California Telehealth Resource Center. At front right is Thomas Nesbitt, the founder of the university's telehealth programs in the early 1990s

UC Davis partners with many community hospitals and clinics throughout Northern California to provide residents and their physicians with access to specialized medical care and education through the use of telecommunications technology.

UC Davis physicians, nurses and administrative leaders gathered recently to mark another new step forward —  the official groundbreaking for the new California Telehealth Resource Center on the grounds of the university's Sacramento campus.

Telehealth in action

  • A UC Davis pediatric specialist helped save a child in a Colusa hospital on Christmas morning — by using telemedicine technology from his own living room. Read more in Parade Magazine 
  • A UC Davis infectious disease specialist diagnosed a dangerous infection through his Smartphone. Read more 

The four-story, $36 million building is designed to enhance and complement UC Davis' long history and wide range of expertise in the field of telehealth, which is the use of high-speed telecommunications for medical consultations, distance education, critical care and emergency services, as well as health-care training.

Telehealth technologies have the promise of transforming and improving health care, especially in communities and regions that are far from large, urbanized areas with a full range of health-care services and medical specialists.

The innovative use of telecommunications tools in the delivery of clinical services can increase access to health care and help advance health, especially for areas of California where physician shortages are a persistent problem. Telehealth also offers the potential of improving quality of care by enabling clinicians at one location to monitor, consult and even care for patients in distant locations.

"The use of telemedicine can improve quality of care and help bridge the barriers of time and distance that many communities currently face." 
— Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of UC Davis School of Medicine

The university's telemedicine program has conducted more than 22,000 video-based consultations at more than 100 clinics and hospital sites throughout California and neighboring states, including Native American health clinics, correctional facilities, county health offices and regional centers that serve the developmentally disabled.

The program now offers more than 21 medical specialties via telemedicine, ranging from infectious disease and pediatric critical care to psychiatry and dermatology.

The new, 52,000 square-foot resource center facility in Sacramento will include high-tech classrooms as part of a telemedicine learning center, an entire floor devoted to medical simulation training, as well as customized telemedicine consultation rooms, where physicians will meet with other physicians and patients to discuss medical cases via secure, high-speed videoconferencing connections.

"This will be a facility that truly helps us address some of the most challenging health-care issues in the state." 
— Thomas Nesbitt, associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances

The center is being financed through Proposition 1D funding, which California voters approved in 2006.

Construction of the new building is expected to be completed in the fall of 2011.