The Many Benefits of Telemedicine (Part 3): Hospitals and Clinics
Rural hospitals and clinics do a remarkable job of caring for patients locally. But when conditions get more complicated than they have the capacity to provide care for, patients often leave town to seek services in a larger community.
Once a relationship is established with a specialty provider in a larger community, the patient will often continue to travel to see that provider to ensure continuity of their care. In several cases, patients will then transfer all of their care – even stuff that could be effectively managed close to their home – to the larger provider, accepting that travel will simply become a part of their care.
But with Telemedicine, specialists can be seen in any town at any time. Even if hands-on care needs to be delivered in a larger healthcare center in a big city, follow-up care and routine maintenance appointments can be provided via Telemedicine. This helps small town hospitals and clinics to continue to meet the needs they can without losing the patient, and in cases the patient’s family members, to a larger provider.
In addition, Telemedicine provides these benefits to rural hospitals and clinics:
An ability to focus on the services they provide best instead of reaching to provide specialties it may be difficult to support locally.
Increased access to a broader range of specialists locally.
Opportunities for staff trainings via Telemedicine reducing costs associated with travel and lost work time.
The opportunity to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations by identifying patients with deteriorating conditions before they require inpatient care through more frequent contact.
In Part 4 of our series, the final installment, we will take a look at how insurers benefit from Telemedicine.