Many state public schools are now offering on line courses for elementary and high school students. These online curriculum could one day replace the brick and mortar institutions that students have traditionally attended. Technology continues to change the way we operate businesses in various fields. While reading about the importance of these education programs I thought about the field of Telehealth. It is analogous because the goal is similar; use technology to interact with clients in remote locations. Telemedicine may go one step better because it offers the exchange of both visual and auditory information to diagnose, train and teach patients and health care professionals alike.
Telehealth helps lower access to medical care through providing cost effective access to nursing services, primary care providers and specialist. This can be a great help in the area of ambulatory care as well as hospital medicine in both urban and rural areas. American Medical News recently reported on Tele-ICU technology which allows 24hour patient coverage that helps make up the nationwide shortage of intensivist. A recent study showed that this service helped improve patient outcomes.
Can you imagine a day when an Asian specialist can provide much needed Telemedicine care to an Asian speaking population across state lines? Today, this is only possible if the provider has a license within the state in which he or she is providing services or during times of natural disasters. It will be important for the U.S. to develop policies which will allow for the provision of needed services for all Americans at all times.
With the rising cost of Healthcare and while states struggle to contain Medicaid cost, it is important to have solutions that reform the system for better access and lower cost. It seems like Telehealth, like other online solutions in other fields, could be a key to the transformation of medical services if developed correctly.