By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
The second telemedicine model is the
store-and-forward concept. This involves
collecting medical data and then transmitting it
to the appropriate physician or specialist for
assessment. The two people involved do not have
to be present at the same time, and the data can
be in the form of an email, text dictation,
video, and especially the electronic medical
record (EMR), which has become a standard in
hospitals and doctorsí offices nationwide.
Even teleradiology has seen a boom. The
ability to send X-rays from one location to
another involves use of an image sending
station, transmission network and
receiving/image review station. The Internet has
made the doctor/patient relationship very
different than the house calls of olden days.
This new movement toward telemedicine has not
been without extensive research into its
capabilities, rewards and risks.
The Center for Information Technology
Leadership (CITL) produced a detailed report
reviewing the various levels of telehealth
technologies, and their benefits on the economy.
The report names six areas, three pre-telehealth
and one advanced, including the benefits this
technology is offering the health community.
Even though the cost to implement
telemedicine nationwide would be astronomical,
this report shows us that the cost would be
covered by the savings, just in a reduction from
transfers of patients via ambulance. "Hybrid
(real-time and store-and-forward) technologies
would avoid 850,000 transports with a cost
savings of $537 million a year," it states.
Then, add in the transports within correctional
facility settings, nursing homes, etc. and the
money available for implementing new
technologies increases fast.
Newt Gingrich, Ph.D., along with Doctors
Richard Boxer and Bryon Brooks, released a
report this year, entitled "Telephone Medical
Consults Answer the Call for Accessible,
Affordable and Convenient Healthcare." The paper
states that more than 1.5 million Americans have
access to telemedicine options today, as many
employers, health plans and other benefit
agencies are recognizing the ability to increase
quality care and decrease expenses.