Is a strategy that’s been in practice for at least two decades really innovative? Telemedicine has been a bit of a tortoise among health information technologies, making its way slowly into practice since the 1990s. But some think the industry is past the tipping point.
To get the best care for her three autistic children, Mandi Larkin would drive three hours from her family’s home in Tifton, Georgia, to Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta. The drive to and from Atlanta was exhausting. Missed work, missed school and the long drive were constant sources of stress. Today, Larkin’s children receive world-class medical care at her local hospital via a state-of-the-art telemedicine link to Marcus Autism Center.
Telemedicine is gaining ground in treating injured workers, especially in rural areas, to speed their evaluation and possibly reduce the costs paid by employers. The costs associated with treating workers in rural areas, in addition to more awareness about telemedicine and increased acceptance of technology, has led the industry to embrace the 40-year-old practice in new ways, said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association in Washington.
Syrian regime forces have allegedly targeted hospitals as a weapon of war, and doctors and nurses have fled the fighting. Telemedicine offers a way to guide treatment of patients in intensive care.
For the past decade, Mercy Health has explored telemedicine and its ability to deliver well-coordinated, state-of-the-art care to its patients in both rural and urban areas.