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Telehealth: Slashing Lines, Shrinking Costs and Saving Lives

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Telehealth: Slashing Lines, Shrinking Costs and Saving Lives

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June 23, 2014
By Maurice Nagle
TMCnet Web Editor

We all have sick days.  The days we literally cannot get out of bed—the trip to the doctor or hospital waiting room feels much like Frodo’s daunting quest.  At least Mordor was open when young Mr. Baggins arrived, no need to wait for an appointment or endure the wonder that is bureaucratic paperwork.  Thankfully, there was no wait time to save Middle Earth. 


Now imagine being a war vet suffering from a condition caused during active duty, place a call to Veteran Affairs, and their response is something to the effect of, “I have something available three months from now,” or better yet, “We are really busy, check back a few months down the line.”

A recent VA audit revealed 57,000 new patients wait a minimum of three months for an initial appointment. These vets are still better off than the 64,000 of their peers who never got appointments. 

Telehealth, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration, is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.

This is where the notion of telehealth steps in and supports long-distance care, heath-related education, public health and health administration.  The beauty of teleheath is that due to remote monitoring, the numbers of denied patients would be greatly reduced, as well as the amount of superfluous admissions or readmissions. 

In the news recently, there have been reports of the House voting unanimously to transfer patients from a VA hospital to a non-VA facility if the wait is too long.  The outcome hinges on a Senate vote.  If the bill passes, any veteran living further than 40 miles away or facing a long wait time would, for the next two years, see a non-agency provider.  The most efficient, productive and dare I say easiest solution the V.A.’s issues is in telehealth. 

Telehealth saves the cost and time of travel by putting one’s medical team in their living room.  Last week, the AMA (American Medical Association) threw its support to telemedicine, doing so with the hopes of further innovation in the field, promote and nurture the crucial patient-doctor relationship through high levels of communication and coordination.

"Telemedicine can strengthen the patient-physician relationship and improve access to receive care remotely, as medically appropriate, including treatment for chronic conditions, which are proven ways to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs," said Dr. Robert Wah, president of the AMA.

A few months back, Yorktel partnered with Rubbermaid to provide some of the highest rated and most reliable telehealth cart solutions in the telemedicine space today.   These carts are easily integrated with cameras and scopes while also offering the means for plug-n-play.  Each cart comes equipped for compatibility with existing deployments and ready for action.


Image via Yorktel

The growth and trust in telehealth extends from the innovations in WebRTC technology—enabling video, text and voice communications all in real time.  It is browser based, promotes stronger session authentification, uses advanced video and audio codecs, and is inherently SECURE.  

Thankfully, Frodo fought off Gollum, saved the day and made it safely back to the shire.  Sadly, too many veterans do not receive the quality of care they deserve after great sacrifices made for their country—especially when the technology exists to do so.

 

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