Conferencing Week in Review: Tufts Medical Center, Tele-Maternity, New York State
It was a surprising week in conferencing this past week, as numerous companies and businesses suddenly “discovered” telemedicine as a viable alternative to actual in-person doctor visits. We have the details.
First up, New York became the 22nd state to enact a telehealth bill that will change how doctors and patients, who are otherwise geographically dispersed, will communicate. Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support a broad variety of clinical and non-clinic services, and is not limited to specific care settings. The bill was sponsored by Republican State Senator Catharine Young and signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat. The effort reflects bipartisan support to facilitate patient access to telemedicine services through private sector growth and development.
Elsewhere, Tufts Medical Center is looking to change the way video conferencing is used even more, thanks to the launch of a new virtual neurology consulting system. This system is geared toward making it that much easier for someone who is suffering from a possible stroke to consult with doctors and find out what is wrong rather quickly. Right now, most community hospitals are going to have to transfer a patient to a more urban center. If the virtual neurology center does what it is supposed to do, the doctors in that more urban center will be able to consult easily from hundreds of miles away. When it comes to test cases, the virtual setup has worked rather well. "(We) administer appropriate care to patients and let them stay in those facilities, rather than see them and bring them in," said Dr. David Thaler, neurologist-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center. This new virtual center has been dubbed the Tufts Medical Center TeleNeurology and will help connect doctors at Tufts to community hospitals using video conferencing.
In British Columbia, a temporary relief for new mothers' worry is often as close as an Internet connection. A new report from the Castlegar Source details how new moms — and new moms-to-be alike — are using video conferencing tools in a new fashion known as “tele-maternity technology.” The Castlegar Source report details how the tele-maternity systems are part of a pilot project between Shared Care and the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice. With tele-maternity, women simply make an appointment with the family doctor, who then arranges the connection between a maternity care provider and the woman in question, who can then not only discuss results and care planning, but also perform certain examinations and measuring functions as well. Several sites are reportedly ready to bring this service into play, and more are likely to follow in the near future.
Conferencing is rapidly evolving; be sure to check back often for the latest updates.