Rural communities such as North Country in New York, have populations too small to support having specialists at their local hospitals or clinics.  However through the use of telemedicine technologies, these patients now have access to specialists for services such as counseling, diagnostics and neurological assessments. The North Country Telehealth Partnership is an initiative of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, who has reported tremendous growth for their program over the past few years, from 40 telemedicine appointments in 2014 to 1300 appointments in 2016.

Sevier County schools in Tennessee have partnered with Cherokee Health Systems to use telemedicine technology to bring high-quality care to 14,000 students.  One of the major challenges telemedicine has addressed is mitigating consistent problems with communicable illnesses from spreading across the school-county and causing school closures.  In the last 5 school years, there have been no school closings due to seasonal flu in Sevier County, a testament to how helpful telemedicine technology can be.

An article post written by Laurence Chu, MD, FACS in Forbes magazine highlights the use of telemedicine by a family physician who has made a dramatic change in how he delivers care to his patients. Using AGNES Interactive and connected medical devices from AMD, this physician is able to provide after hours care and immediate attention to a patient, from his home.

Every minute counts when treating a patient with stroke symptoms, and four north country hospitals now have technology available to help them make quick, informed decisions and save lives.  The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization provides telemedicine access to numerous hospitals and health care agencies in the north counry.  Through a partnership with Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, Samaritan Medical Center, Carthage Area Hospital, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay and Ogdensburg’s Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center have all begun using telemedicine to rapidly treat stroke sufferers that arrive in their emergency departments.

A recently launched telemedicine program provides the underserved patient population on the island of Guam, with cost-effective real-time access to secure medical consultation services from specialists an ocean away. The Department of Public Health and Social Services and Good Samaritan Hospital partner to connect patients in Guam with medical staff in Los Angeles.

Thanks to the team effort of Bryan Health and CHI St. Elizabeth, health care is available and convenient regardless of where a person lives in Nebraska. By forming partnerships with rural hospitals they are able to provide diagnostic care and assessment in specialized areas including mental health, burns, prenatal, trauma and acute care. That means patients need not always travel for hours to receive follow-up treatment.

The Baystate Health telemedicine program connects speciality doctors with patients, without requiring the patients to travel far from their home communities. They are currently leveraging telemedicine to service patients in rural community medical centers for stroke, infectious disease, geriatrics and palliative care.

 

As telemedicine may not be the best care plan for all specialties, being able to have instant access to specialized help is especially essential for stroke victims. "After suffering a stroke, about two million brain cells die every minute that someone goes without treatment",  says Dr. Mackey from Indiana University Health Stroke Telemedicine Program.  With telemedicine, specialists like Dr. Mackey can now provide instant feedback to multiple patients.

Follow up appointments from surgery are easily addressed through telemedicine consults. Freeman Health System has partnered with Children's Mercy Kansas City to provide the same quality appointment services as they would in person.  Specialty medical devices and equipment such as AMD's General Examination Camera and ENT Otoscope, provide them with the tools to do a follow up clinical exam from a remote location.

SSM Healthcare in Oklahoma and St. Anthony Hospital expand their patient care to rural communities through the use of telemedicine technology.  One such example is their tele-dermatology program which allows them to support primary care physicians by co-managing patient care and provide specialist advice for treatment plans. Renee Grau, the Medical Director at Saints Dermatology Center for Excellence comments that dermatology is one of the best applications for telemedicine, adding "...digital photography has become the stethoscope of the dermatologist...".

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