Telemedicine is the provision of medical services across distances. The technology has been around for over 50 years and recent advancements are allowing specialists to reach a larger number of new patients. Although telemedicine had humble beginnings using audio and video technology, this field has moved from curiousity to mainstream acceptance. Last year, approximately 36 million Americans experienced telemedicine in some way.
Patients are often limited by distribution of doctors, their own disabilities, and distance. Recent telemedicine providers estimate that 80-90% of specialist care can be delivered remotely. Telemedicine works by having a physician in one location, connect to a patient at a “presenting” site. Varying types of technology allow for complex exams to take place without the “human touch”. Telemedicine as proven that it is 1) feasible 2) able to generate comparable clinical outcomes as in person and 3) of value to patients as it provides access, convenient ,and is cost effective. Challenges such as technology glitches, reimbursement and licensure issues are hindering adoption. However, health care reform is speeding up the implementation of telemedicine.
Listen to Dr. Patterson, a master’s degree engineer and double board certified physician, discuss telemedicine in general and how she applies it to her rare specialty of maternal fetal medicine. She shares achievements with numerous outcomes on high risk obstetric patients and more on how she is working to achieve some new breakthroughs in rural obstetric populations. Listeners can visit: www.americantelemed.org , www.gatelehealth.org and www.womenstelehealth.com for more information.
C. Anne Patterson, M.D.
Dr. Anne Patterson is a board-certified maternal fetal medicine specialist who received her medical training at Emory University after completing a masters engineering program at Georgia Tech. She has practiced at Northside Hospital, one of the largest OB delivering hospitals in the US for the past 25 years. Dr. Patterson is also an advisor to the Georgia OB/GYN Society. Most recently, she moved from private clinical practice to telemedicine and now is one of the nation’s top leaders in her field. She has presented at the national American Telemedicine Association, been a 2013 nominee for the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Health Care Hero awards, and been featured in numerous videos on this subject.