Get Blog Updates

 

 

Write for the SWTRC Blog

Guest Author

 

SWTRC Services

  • Full-Day Training Program
  • Online Learning Modules
  • Help Desk
  • Technical Assistance
  • Tools & Templates
  • Program Development
  • Business Models
  • Evaluation
  • Best Practices
  • Clinical Operations
  • Sustainability
  • Equipment Recommendations
  • Program Operations

Login

Southwest Telehealth Resource Center Blog

Rural healthcare is suffering, but many communities have yet to swallow the medicine that could make a difference: telemedicine.

Several vectors have led to what the National Rural Health Association estimates is more than 50 rural hospital closures over the past five years, with 12 already closing in 2016 so far. The challenges that rural healthcare face include a high percentage of uninsured and elderly patients, reduced populations, equipment that is not fully utilized, and the lack of lucrative specialty services that help support hospitals financially. There also are the issues of getting patients to rural hospitals in a timely manner due to travel distances, and luring top talent from larger cities.

Telemedicine can address many of these issues if rural communities take the opportunity seriously.

Elizabeth Krupinski, PhD & Rashid Bashshur, PhD enjoying some quality “booth time” at the 2016 ATA meeting!

There are meetings that you go to once or twice and never return and others that you just keep going to year after years for decades. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Annual Conference and Trade Show falls into the latter category for many of us. I think this year was my 20th year – but who’s counting! Why do I keep going back? Over the years the meeting has changed in many ways – growing from a small but growing gathering of those already involved in telemedicine to a large and growing gathering of everyone from the seasoned telemedicine aficionado to the green novice just trying to figure out what it’s all about.

$363. That’s how much a single stolen patient health record is worth on the dark market, according to data from the Ponemon Institute, making it worth more than any other piece of data from any other industry. In fact, your medical information is worth 10 times more than your credit card number.

As healthcare becomes increasingly more digital through EHR adoption and telemedicine applications, the information systems the data runs on are becoming more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

When middle-school students seem unsure of their ability to pursue a career in health care, Allan Hamilton, MD, professor of surgery and director of the Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center (ASTEC), has a quick response.

“Do you know how to play video games,” he asks. “Well, yeah, of course,” the student will say. “Well, that’s who we’re looking for now,” Hamilton replies. “People who are tech savvy, know how to be good members of a team, and are compassionate. If you meet those qualifications, you’re a candidate for a career in healthcare.”

The way young folks adapt to the virtual world of games like “Minecraft” and “Heroes of the Storm” seems to transfer well to practicing laparoscopy and other simulated procedures in the ASTEC lab.

Telehealth is offering improved access to healthcare services across America. Information and communication technologies are now becoming more affordable, easier to use, secure, and applicable to a broad spectrum of healthcare services, providing the right care, at the right time, and the right place. In light of these advances in telehealth, developing new state legislation that facilitates the meaningful use of telehealth is becoming even more important in order to appropriately address barriers and gaps in care to all citizens. Successful legislation should address, at least in part, the Triple Aim: 1) Improve the patient’s experience with the health system that is more patient centered, 2) Improve health outcome, community and public health, 3) Decrease costs without sacrificing quality.

Pages