Telemedicine has been around several years, but advances in availability was once a concern for some facilities. Early on, doctors had to leave their offices and go to a separate basement location where telemedicine equipment was housed. Now, modern medical devices can be handheld and offer convenience and mobility to both medical staff and patients. Advances in telemedicine allow smaller health care facilities to provide localized care, even in more rural areas.
“The Wound Care Clinic is a great resource in this region. The doctor can talk to the nurse, who is with the patient at the site, and problem-solve,” according to Marsha Waind, manager of regional services Altru Health System. “The care-planning that happens is just beautiful. That’s what should happen.”
Telemedicine can help lower expenses for the health care facility as well as the patient. For example, use of an expensive wound dressing can be replaced sooner with a less-expensive but more appropriate one based on results of more-frequent assessments via telemedicine. It also helps the local hospital or clinic maintain its identity as the local medical provider.