I took a few days off last week after the ATA conference. Went to the Southern Utah desert to get some sand in my shoes and take some photographs. While I was there, I saw the perfect reason for doing Telehealth. We were out in a very rural area with one small hospital in town. While the hospital and primary care providers offer excellent care to their area, because of the low population, the Critical Access Hospital couldn’t staff up with specialists: the small local population base simply wouldn’t be able to keep them busy. Yet this and pretty much any other Critical Access Hospital can offer world class service beyond “routine” care through a Telehealth connection. There’s no longer a good reason to require sick people do drive five hours to the nearest specialist or to evacuate acutely ill people via a helicopter, when the hospital staff could care for the patient with assistance from a remote specialist. I live in Billings, a big city by my standards, but there’s no reason people living in a tiny Utah town shouldn’t expect the same level of care I do. Telehealth is the answer.
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