Advances in technology in medical practice are changing how many doctors see patients. Michael Booth, editor of Elevations, the quarterly publication of the Colorado Health Foundation, writes about the telehealth revolution in the latest edition.
“Telehealth has been promised to people for a long time in terms of finding the ways to get technology to bring medicine and behavioral health care more directly into people’s homes and into their lives to make it more convenient, to make it more secure, to make it more comfortable for them to get the care that they need and now instead of being just a decades long promise on everything from cartoons like George Jetson to any number of sci-fi shows, it’s now here.”
Booth says that most large health care insurers are paying for video telehealth visits with doctors and other medical providers. “It’s really making great changes with the way that consumers interact with their health carer.”
This technology is particularly helpful for people in rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors. There are many counties that don’t have a psychiatrist or other specialist providers. Booth says that even in urban areas, telehealth video visits are improving health care delivery for busy families. “In Children’s Hospital in Aurora, they’re working on some emergency psychiatric telehealth where someone who may just live in another suburb has a childhood psychiatric emergency, under the old system it might have taken 6 – 12 hours to figure out the final step of whether they should be admitted for in-patient care. Now, by using a telehealth connection to whatever ER or counselor’s office that that child showed up in, they can make a decision, consulting with a psychiatrist over the phone and over the telehealth video connection and make that decision within minutes, so that family can go on with their lives and figure out whatever they need to do to get the best care for their child.”