Throughout the world, telehealth services have shown their merit. The United States, however, has taken a bit longer to embrace it. Fortunately, telehealth, also referred to as telemedicine, is gaining bigger and stronger footholds in the U.S. The legal obstacles are being ironed out and reimbursement for telehealth services is improving.
One of the primary driving forces for this change is the lack of sufficient access to medical specialists for many people, especially those outside of major metropolitan areas. Specialists often have tremendous waiting lists; it can take months to gain an appointment. Plus, people in rural areas often must drive for hours to reach specialty care centers.
The folks at Project ACCESS, the Nebraska Epilepsy Initiative are working with the Epilepsy Foundation North/Central Illinois, Iowa & Nebraska to overcome such barriers for the children of rural Nebraska who have epilepsy.
Seeking to extend access to pediatric neurologists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute, this grant-funded demonstration project connects specialists with with rural telehealth sites for real-time, face-to-face visits.
According to UNMC News, the project’s director, Joseph Evans, PhD., says that “These clinics have the potential to bring top-notch epilepsy care to the remote areas of our state. Not only are we using telemedicine for actual medical visits, but we are also delivering support group services and epilepsy education via the Nebraska State Telehealth Network.”
From neurology to cardiology to dermatology to neonatology to psychiatry – many fields of medicine are discovering the advantages of increased connectivity and outreach via telehealth services. Providing more care to more people at lower costs…now that’s a win!
Posted – March 27, 2012