Becker’s Hospital Review recently reported a study of 29 billion private healthcare claims showed provider-to-patient telehealth use increased 1393% between 2014 and 2018. (Fair Health, 2018).

There are many creative ways in which telehealth is being used to improve access to healthcare services and information. Here are a few examples:

  •  A New York nursing school developed a telehealth training program for nurses located in rural areas
  • A West Virginia Hospital has launched a telehealth program for diabetic patients
  • A North Dakota organization has launched therapy telehealth services for child abuse victims
  • A North Carolina healthcare system allows patients to sign into its electronic healthcare record and engage in a telehealth encounter with selected primary care and specialty care providers
  • A Pennsylvania medical center has a telehealth connection with 13 smaller hospitals seeking to improve care for patients with infectious diseases
  • An Indiana hospital offers virtual care visits to local elementary school students for treatment of various conditions including colds and eye issues

These telehealth programs serve as examples of the myriad ways in which technology can be used to improve the health and well-being of a community.

We are pleased to announce the recent implementation of a PSN rheumatology telehealth clinic. The client is a small, rural Kansas hospital. The circumstances surrounding it are part of the beauty of the story. A highly respected, well liked and productive rheumatologist is forced to leave due to relocation  to another state with her spouse. Rather than close the clinic or go through the lengthy process of finding her replacement, the hospital will continue to provide rheumatology services through a telehealth connection with the doctor. The patients will get the care they need from a physician they know and trust.

Although rural folks often prefer face to face encounters with their practitioners, telehealth is a valid solution to access to care issues in rural areas. Mr. Gordon Alloway is the PSN expert on telehealth. He is a former President of the Kansas Telehealth Network. If you have any telehealth questions, he can be contacted at gordon.alloway@psnmo.net.