The 2003 Robert Cox Telemedicine Award was recently awarded at the 12th Annual Telepower Conference, sponsored by Fort Hays State University's Docking Institute of Public Affairs, in Salina. Kathy Archer, RN, Kansas City, was named the inaugural recipient of the award.
The Annual Telepower Conference educates rural leaders about the use of information technology and telecommunications for economic development.
The award, established this year by Robert Cox, medical director of Hays Medical Center, is a new way of recognizing one Kansan for outstanding achievement in the field of telemedicine. Cox has been a frontrunner in the development and usage of telemedicine over the past 15 years. He said that establishing a telemedicine award is important to the field and to the state.
"It is important for us to step back and reflect on the many great strides that have been made in telemedicine across this state, and to say 'thank you' to one individual, of many deserving, who has made a significant contribution to the health and wellness of Kansas citizens," Cox said. "I am proud to recognize Kathy Archer as the first recipient of the Robert Cox Telemedicine Award."
Archer has served the families and children of M.E. Pearson Elementary School in Kansas City, KS, as a school nurse for the past 15 years. In the spring of 1998, she was selected to participate in TeleKidcare, a health care delivery system that uses teleconferencing technology to connect a school nurse's office with a health care provider.
The program, jointly sponsored by the University of Kansas Medical Center and Kansas City USD 500, enables school children with acute or chronic health care conditions or behavioral health concerns to see the doctor from the convenience of their school nurse's office. To date, nearly 2,000 consultations have occurred, and one-third of these consultations have taken place under Archer's direction and supervision at M.E. Pearson Elementary.
Archer considers her involvement with the TeleKidcare program a personal and professional high point.
"TeleKidcare has given school nurses such a new and innovative way to serve children in the educational community," she said. "It has been the most exciting adventure in my nursing career."
Archer was nominated by Debbie Swirczynski, TeleKidcare project manager at the University of Kansas Medical Center, for her leadership in the program in Kansas City. Swirczynski calls Archer a "star in the field of telemedicine in Kansas."
"Her success has been phenomenal, and Kansas is extremely lucky to have her looking after our kids and their health," she said.