Telemedicine Technology Benefits Patients in Remote Rural Areas

May 30, 2012
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In rural areas, where doctors and hospitals are scarce, telemedicine has been found to be the next best thing for diabetic patients. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) studied patients remotely, via the internet and turned out almost a 100% satisfaction rate with this type of exam. During the study a virtual examination room was created using video cameras, television monitors and the internet to electronically transmit video, sound, high-resolution images and patient medical records.

In rural areas, where doctors and hospitals are scarce, telemedicine has been found to be the next best thing for diabetic patients. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) studied patients remotely, via the internet and turned out almost a 100% satisfaction rate with this type of exam. During the study a virtual examination room was created using video cameras, television monitors and the internet to electronically transmit video, sound, high-resolution images and patient medical records. A clinical endocrinologist located in an urban center was hooked up through video teleconference to patients accompanied by a nurse in rural locations. The nurse assisted with the physical exam and communication between doctor and patient, allowing the doctor to visually examine the patients, from a distance in real-time, “face-to-face”.

Endocrine disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease and osteoporosis are on the rise especially in rural areas. In fact, according to the AACE, incidence of diabetes is 17 percent greater in rural settings than urban areas. Statistics also show that there are still about 7 million people walking around, unaware they have the disease; their cases have gone undiagnosed. With the unavailability of medical specialists in these outlying areas patients don’t get well and often die because they can’t get the care they need.

Telemedicine is not a replacement for personal physician care which is recommended if a patient is very ill. With this modern technology, however, patients can be monitored easily at home through a computer and a phone line for diabetes, heart conditions and various vital signs, saving on hospital stays and readmissions; a huge reduction in costs for all parties.

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