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The Case for Telehealth

by Louis on January 4, 2010

Telehealth is remote health care visits. The obvious use and value of telehealth is when the patient and health care professional cannot be in the same place. The clearest examples include a sailor on the high seas or the famous case of the physician in the arctic who diagnosed and treated her cancer for months before she could be evacuated.

The application most people think of is rural older folks. The distance and difficulty of rural travel make the value clear and obvious. The distance between patient homes makes house calls very expensive and the distance and difficulty for the patient and caregiver is avoided as well. The patient attaches a blood pressure cuff to their arm and their phone line or home health monitoring device ( such as Grand Care Systems) while ‘visiting’ with a health care professional over two way video conference hook up. This is pretty easy to envision now that skype is a household word. There is obvious benefit for rural Aging in Place.

Though the distance is smaller, the trip is still difficult in non-rural areas. Try getting out of your apartment, down the elevator, ride the bus, find a cab or a ride and get across town for an appointment. How about the parking and traffic medical professionals face in scheduling home visits?

The case for non-rural telehealth may not be as obvious but it is just as strong.

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