Mobile technology and the capability for employees to work from home are extending to the field of medical care. Thousands of hospitals nationwide have installed devices allowing doctors, nurses and even surgeons to give care and diagnose patients from miles and miles away. The development could allow more patients to receive attention without waiting for the correct hours or traveling far beyond their local facility.
Doctors gain remote access
Many small hospitals in rural or out-of-way areas lack the specialists or the sheer number of doctors and nurses to care for all of their patients. Before remote accessibility, those in need would either be required to travel miles to the nearest major hospital or wait for the doctors to come to them. Neither case is ideal for someone who needs immediate help.
But devices similar to mobile-conferencing screens are changing all that, according to Business Insider. Providers like Dignity Health, which operates within Nevada, Arizona and California, used the equipment to diagnose patients suspected to be suffering from strokes – a condition that demands urgent diagnosis.
"Regardless of where the patient is located, we can be at their bedside in several minutes," Dr. Alan Shatzel, medical director of the Mercy Telehealth Network, told Business Insider. "Literally, we compress time and space with this technology. No longer does distance affect a person's ability to access the best care possible."
24/7 health care
In addition to the ability for doctors and patients thousands of miles away from each other to meet face to face, the new technology also offers access to care at any time of day or week, Kansas Health Institute News reported.
Avera's eCare system, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, offers several telemedicine services for a flat yearly rate. Nurses working the nightshift at small, local hospitals can feel confident providing care to patients in dire need of it by accessing the program's 24/7 staff of professionals that will offer diagnosis and advice via a high-definition camera and monitor.
"It just increases their level of confidence," James Norton, CEO of Horton Community Hospital in Kansas, told Kansas Health Institute. "It's real time. You've got your second opinion right there. And you've got that specialist who's an immediate backup for the family practitioner on call."
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