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Hospital Emergency entrance sign

Telepsychiatry Extends Services Across Maine ERs

In recent years, increasing percentages of emergency department visits have required a psychiatric consult, but the number of psychiatric beds in emergency rooms has dropped. Amidst such a shortage, patients often end up with longer ER stays or are released without being treated. In Maine, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center added emergency telepsychiatry services to their renovated ED in 2010; this allows them to link patients with a mental health professional around the clock. Read more

Dr in ICU

Tele-ICU May Improve Outcomes Both During and After ICU Stays

Thanks to telemedicine, ICU patients may soon have more timely access to specialists and more specialty care after discharge from the ICU environment. At Hawaii’s North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH), patients who need critical care are enjoying the benefits of the tele-ICU system that allows patients to receive state-of-the-art care without the treatment delays caused by inter-island transfers to the main facility on Oahu. Meanwhile, at Indiana University, researchers are currently conducting trials for elderly patients who experienced delirium during their ICU visits to determine whether training and exercises delivered via telemedicine can improve the patients’ quality of life. Read more

tornado aftermath

Sci-Fi No More: Telemedicine Drones Are a Reality

Thanks to telemedicine, medical drones are one giant step closer to reality. A research team in Mississippi has created three prototypes of a medical drone that can fly to the site of a natural or man-made disaster while carrying audiovisual equipment and medical supplies. Once the telemedicine drone arrives, a remote doctor can see the patient’s condition through the webcam and provide first aid directions. Read more

sick woman on telemedicine visit

6 Things We Learned at ATA 2017

This year’s American Telemedicine Association conference just wrapped up this week in Orlando. The theme, Telehealth 2.0, emphasized that when it’s done right, telehealth can benefit patients and providers, and they both prefer it. Throughout the numerous panels and talks, the tremendous growth of the industry showcased innovation, technology, and workable solutions. In case you missed it, here are the top six takeaways that we learned from the conference. Read more

Innovative Ways to Overcome Rural Health Care Challenges

A new report by The Commonwealth Fund showcases several representative solutions implemented by organizations to meet the challenges of rural health care. While Americans living in these underserved areas have a higher poverty rate, a higher incidence of illness, a lower life expectancy than their urban counterparts, and less access to health insurance and physicians, the innovation of rural health care facilities suggests that with enough time and creativity, the difference between rural and urban health care and outcomes can be significantly reduced. Below are some of the problems and approaches described in the report. Read more

Man in Wheelchair Needs Help Getting into Van

Patients Enjoy the Transportation Benefits of Telemedicine

Most telemedicine analyses focus on whether the technology reduces costs and improves outcomes, but few have explored the benefits of telemedicine for individual patients. Researchers at University of California Davis sought to remedy this oversight by looking at transportation costs for patients; they found that the transportation gains are measurable and not insignificant. Read more

An elderly amputee contemplates his healthcare options without telemedicine

Rural Telemedicine Broadband Service Too Spotty

For patients in rural areas, telemedicine can make a big difference by increasing access to health care and specialists—but only when the region’s high-speed Internet access works. Unlike swyMed, most telemedicine platforms need minimum connection speeds of 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload. Read more

Doctor at night in hospital

Telenocturnists Ease Burdens for All

Previously, patients admitted in the middle of the night have had a higher mortality rate, according to the American Medical Association. Soon, however, this statistic may be a thing of the past; telenocturnists have begun volunteering for the less-desired weekend and nighttime shifts, and they’re hoping to lessen the disparity in outcomes while reducing the financial burden on hospitals. Read more