The Role Of Modern TeleHealth

By Frances Sanders

People who live in small towns often choose to stay there because they enjoy the quieter and slower pace of life. They realize they make sacrifices in order to stay there. For example, they often do not have access to bigger hospitals and state-of-the-art facilities that can be found in bigger cities. Still, many small town residents do not think much of this compromise until they have a health situation that needs to be addressed. It is at this time that services like telehealth might come in handy.

Also known as telemedicine, this service involves broadcasting and connecting healthcare facilities and providers in remote areas to hospitals, doctors' offices, and specialists in bigger cities. The connection is often established with wireless Internet. It allows mobile health clinic, rural hospitals, and doctors' offices in small towns to meet and speak virtually with providers located in larger cities often miles away.

People who live in these areas no longer have to drive miles away from home to receive medical or dental care. They can simply go to their own local doctors' offices or medical clinics and see their primary care provider there. If needed, that provider can use the telemedical technology to connect wih a specialist in another facility in a larger metro area.

The virtual meeting also eliminates the need for medical records to be faxed or mailed to another provider in a bigger city. Instead, the doctor can simply view them through the virtual connection. This service can be helpful in particular to people who might have a hard time driving themselves. The elderly and the disabled stand to benefit the most from this technology.

This meeting is typically covered by insurance companies as well. It is billed as a regular doctor's visit instead of specialized medicine. The patient often does not need to mess with getting a referral in order for it to be paid for and covered. Likewise, this individual can stay close to home without spending money on gas and travel expenses to go to a bigger hospital elsewhere.

This service likewise could come in useful during a life threatening situation. When time is of the essence, the treating doctor might not be able to get the patient to a bigger urban hospital on time. The virtual meeting would allow an emergency room doctor in a bigger city to consult with physician and help treat the patient. After the person is stabilized, he or she may then be transported to a bigger hospital.

Paying for these services to be set up sometimes falls outside of a rural facility's budget. In order to afford it, they often must seek out and utilize grants given out by the federal government for this purpose. They also have the option of partnering with a larger facility that wants to benefit smaller facilities in this way.

Telemedical care is now becoming commonplace in rural areas throughout the country. People no longer have to drive dozens or hundreds of miles out of the way to get medical care. They can simply visit their local physician who then has the option of conducting a virtual meeting with another doctor in a metro area. Patients might save time, money, and energy in receiving medical care.

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