Operations and Implementation

Panel Presentation

(OI1-01) A Multinational Telemedicine System for Disaster Response

Sunday, April 23
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: Tangerine Ballroom

1) The attendees will learn about telemedicine in support of disaster response.
2) The attendees will learn about the challenges of developing a multinational telemedicine system for disaster response

Disasters, whether natural or manmade are unpredictable. While there may be some forewarning like a hurricane, response is often suboptimal. There is a need for an integrated and structured action for all three defined phases of disaster management (pre-, during, and post-) that must be addressed to ameliorate the impact on life and the necessary steps for recovery. One simple observation puts telemedicine under the spotlight: while the population of the planet has doubled in the last 50 years and medical personnel has become a scarce capacity, computing power has double about every two years for the past 50 years, according to Moore’s Law. Over the past several decades, telemedicine has been integrated in some form of disaster response.

Since 2013, NATO, under the auspices of the SPSP, has worked on developing the MNTS for Disaster Response. Initially, it was a partnership between Romania and U.S. as allies and Russia as a partner country. However, following the crisis in Ukraine and Allied political guidance, NATO foreign ministers decided to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia. In 2015, the project evolved to include Finland, Moldova, and Ukraine. A network of telemedicine hubs was developed in Romania and was linked to sites in Europe and the U.S. A team of SMEs from Europe and the U.S. established the network and a concept of operations. The system included vendors who provided telemedicine workstations. An entire MNTS, including personnel, Web-based tools, portable power, field kits, and simulated patients, participated in the EADRCC's Ukraine 2015 Exercise. This full-up exercise provided an opportunity to test and verify various components of the MNTS.

The field exercise tested and validated the MNTS and identified areas of improvement. The results of the multiyear MNTS effort is a comprehensive approach to disaster response with development of guidelines, lessons learned, and completion of a scholarly textbook.

The intent of this panel presentation is to provide a summary of how the MNTS was developed and what lessons were learned that provide a foundation for future work in the use of telemedicine in disaster response.

Charles R. Doarn

University of Cincinnati

Charles Doarn, Professor of Family and Community Medicine, University of Cincinnati (UC), has academic appointments in Environmental Health and Political Science at UC, Aerospace Medicine at Wright State University, and Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. He is currently on loan as a Special Assistant to the NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer at NASA Headquarters. He serves as the co-chair of FedTel for the US Government. Professor Doarn is a Fulbright Specialist with the US Department of State. He has served as Deputy Director, Center for Surgical Innovation; Executive Director, Telehealth Video Resources Center in Ohio; Executive Director and co-principal investigator for NASA's Research Partnership Center for Medical Informatics and Technology Applications, located at Yale University (1997-1999) and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Throughout the 1990's, he served as the Program Executive for Aerospace Medicine and Telemedicine at NASA Headquarters, and is the principle author of NASA's Strategic Plan for Telemedicine. He served as the lead for NASA’s Telemedicine activities and also serves as the Executive Secretary of the Multilateral Medical Policy Board for the International Space Station.

Mr. Doarn served on the Board of Directors for the ATA and served as Secretary, Treasurer, and Chair of the International Special Interest Group. Professor. Doarn serves as an Editor-in-Chief of the Telemedicine and e-Health Journal. He is a recognized leader in telemedicine as a scholar and teacher, having published over 350 books, manuscripts, editorials, federal reports and 35+ book chapters.

Mr. Doarn is a fellow of the ATA and the Aerospace Medical Association, an Honorary NASA Flight Surgeon, and recipient of the Astronaut’s award, the Silver Snoopy for his work in Telemedicine for NASA worldwide. In May 2016, he was recognized by the ATA with the 2016 Individual Leadership Award for his efforts national and international in telemedicine.


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Rifat Latifi


Dr. Rifat Latifi is a professor of Surgery at the New York Medical College and Director of Department Surgery, Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, New York. He is a founder and president of a not-for-profit organization, the International Virtual e-Hospital (www.iveh.org), whose mission is to assist in rebuilding the public healthcare system in developing countries by introducing and implementing telemedicine, telehealth, and virtual educational programs through the concept of the IVeH Network. Since 2002 he oversees a team of 3 national telemedicine programs, in Europe (Kosova and Albania) and Cabo Verde (Africa). Dr. Latifi has received the highest award from the American College of Surgeons Operation Giving Back, “The 2015 ACS/Pfizer International Surgical Volunteerism Award for his work on telemedicine around the the world
For his work the postwar Balkans, Dr. Latifi and his organization IVeH has received “The 21st Century Achievement Award for Health” by the Computerworld Honors Program in 2011(Washington DC) – and the International Award for Health Promotion by URAC, Rome, and December 2011
His telemedicine mission has taken him to the Amazon River, where in 2007 he has followed for the first time in the history, the Marathon Swimmer, Martin Strel who swam the entire Amazon for 66 days. Dr. Latifi led the medical expedition that in addition to providing care to the swimmer, introduced telemedicine technologies through out the Amazon jungle.
He has authored/edited three books on telemedicine and telehealth.


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Ronald Poropatich

Executive Director, Center for Military Medicine Research
University of Pittsburgh

Dr Poropatich has a long well established career in military medicine. He is a former ATA President and has a significant background in telemedicine in the military and NATO


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Natasa Sokolovich

Executive Director- Telehealth, UPMC and Senior Director- Affiliated Physician Services, Health Services Division
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Natasa Sokolovich is currently Executive Director, Telehealth and Senior Director, Affiliated Physician Services, UPMC. The UPMC Health System, located in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is a $12 billion global health and integrated clinical delivery system with over 60,000 employees, 23 hospitals and over 400 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites. UPMC also maintains its own health insurance services division with over 3 million members.
As Executive Director, Telehealth, Natasa is responsible for the strategic growth of UPMC’s Telehealth program. As a leading integrated delivery & finance system UPMC is committed to implementing innovations in technology to develop new models of care as we shift from volume to a value. Over the past several years, the UPMC Telehealth program has experienced significant growth, with the expansion of multiple clinical use cases, including over 35 specialty services, direct to consumer and remote monitoring services.

Prior to joining UPMC Health System, Natasa held various leadership and management positions in Pricing, Contracting, and Sales & Marketing in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industries. Her professional experience includes working for Johnson & Johnson, Roche Laboratories and Enzon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Natasa’s extensive professional experience includes operations, management, sales & marketing, as well as contracting and legal analysis. Prior to transitioning to UPMC, Natasa assisted with the successful transition of Enzon Pharmaceuticals’ business to new ownership under Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals.

Natasa’s education includes a dual major, Bachelor of Science, Magna cum Laude degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Business and Psychology, as well as a Masters in Healthcare Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. Natasa maintains a license to practice Law in Pennsylvania and is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the American Telemedicine Association. Born in Slovenia, Natasa is fluent in Serbo-Croatian.


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Donald Kosiak


Dr. Kosiak has significant experience from both the military and emergency medicine at Avera Health in South Dakota. Avera has been involved in the NATO project for several years now.


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(OI1-01) A Multinational Telemedicine System for Disaster Response

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