Several years ago, back in the late 1990’s, the University of Minnesota started demonstrating telemedicine inside their building at the Minnesota State Fair, which runs every year, for 12 days, in the month of August. When we, gpTRAC, became part of the University in 2009, we continued this annual event, of demonstrating telemedicine at the fair. These demonstrations included primarily teledermatology, however a couple years pulmonorary fuction testing and stroke screenings were also part of this event. Over the years, many fairgoers either experienced telemedicine, by either participating as a patient/fairgoer, observing a telemedicine session or simply got educated about the merits of telehealth in general. For some of them, actually, this is what got them started with telemedicine! Thousands of fairgoers were seeing during these telemedicine sessions and although most of them were diagnosed with suspected benign skin conditions, a few of them were observed with suspected skin cancers, including melanoma. A few testimonials from the fairgoers that experienced this is worth of sharing, like the woman who was seeing for something on her chest, which although didn’t bother her, it was something she wanted to get an opinion, to return a week later in the telemedicine booth, at the fair, thanking our team members for “saving her life”. Testimonials like this kept this project going, although some of the challenges to run the project made it difficult at times.
This event has become one of the MN State Fair’s traditions. We have enjoyed the moments where fairgoers didn’t know what we asked them to experience, the moment when a young teenager, while watching, said “Wow, this is the future”, the moment when older folks saw this as “their answer” to see a doctor, and many more.
Earlier this year, our team decided to write a paper on this popular event. The paper is titled”. We are very proud to share with you, our readers, that our paper was accepted by IEEE Xplore for publication. You can find the abstract and the PDF version by clicking on this link: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=6867599&contentType=Conference+Publications
gpTRAC would like to take this opportunity and express our gratitude to the University of Minnesota Professors of Dermatology, the University of Minnesota Clinical Dermatologists, the University of Minnesota Department of Dermatology; the University of Minnesota dermatology residents: the many telemedicine booth volunteers; the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Office of Communications State Fair Coordinators and Video Guidance, the vendor who has provided the technology each year since the inception of the project