Telemedicine is Here

On Nantucket, an island 30 miles from the nearest spit of mainland, “telemedicine just makes a lot of sense,” said Dr. Margot Hartmann, chief executive officer of Nantucket Cottage Hospital…

[T]ele-dermatology saves nearly $29,000 a year because two dermatologists now visit only four times a year, but appear on screen six times a month and see 1,100 patients a year. Previously, dermatologists visited monthly, and always had 100 people on the waiting list…

Nantucket also uses tele-radiology, having Boston radiologists, some specializing in certain body areas, read X-rays and scans. It has used tele-pediatrics twice, for a child in a car accident and one in diabetic crisis. Tele-stroke uses video neurologists to quickly determine if a patient’s stroke type warrants a clot-busting drug, tPA, or if tPA could harm the patient.

Source: New York Times.

Comments (6)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    These examples exist primarily because it just makes more sense to use technology when the alternative is travel that’s very inconvenient. However, there are many occasions when it would also make sense as a way to encourage competition with, say, the radiologist across town, for example. The notion that we always have to be in front of our doctor rather than on the phone (or other electronic contact) is just old fashioned. Doctors were among the first professionals to use telephones. They stopped about the time insurance companies began paying most of our medical bills.

  2. Alex says:

    That sounds pretty cool actually. Too bad that only works with remote areas and places without a doctor shortage.

  3. August says:

    Devon: I like the idea of competition by technology. I can see a situation where two doctors compare x-rays or MRI images to bid for a procedure. Complex but perhaps effective.

  4. Jordan says:

    Even if they don’t bid.. it would make it much cheaper and easier to get second opinions, reducing the chance for extraneous procedures.

  5. Lucy Hender says:

    On Nantucket, an island 30 miles from the nearest spit of mainland, “telemedicine just makes a lot of sense,”

    It makes sense anywhere…not just in remote islands. If it lowers costs and improves access to care…then why not implement this same approach in as many places as possible?

  6. Robert says:

    Excellent use of technology. Excited to see this develop.