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Telemedicine Bill Brings Video Conferencing to Texas Healthcare

June 07, 2017

Video conferencing is taking several industries by storm, from education to the legal system to healthcare. One of the restrictions that’s kept video conferencing from completely revamping the way we go about our healthcare needs, though, is the fact that it’s not legal everywhere. Some states in the U.S. have refused to give telemedicine the go ahead, citing a number of concerns.

These concerns are reasonable, to an extent. For instance, should a patient use video conferencing to talk to a doctor if they’re deathly ill? No, probably not. They should probably go see the doctor in the office so that a thorough examination can be performed. However, for smaller issues or questions, there’s no real reason telemedicine shouldn’t be considered as an option.

It seems as though the state of Texas agrees that telemedicine is worth taking a chance on. Governor Greg Abbott signed the Telemedicine Bill this week, thus allowing even more people to gain access to healthcare. This is an important move on Abbott’s part, because an unsettling amount of Texans currently don’t have physicians located near them.

“Many of the counties in Texas, I think 35 counties overall, don't have any physicians at all,” said Jason Gorevic, Teladoc President and CEO, “and the state ranks 46th in the country in terms of primary care physicians per thousand people.”

Representative Four Price agrees that telemedicine could be the change Texas needs to ensure all of its citizens have access to doctors, saying, “From a rural perspective it certainly helps us access healthcare in areas where we have a professional workforce shortage…so that's important, and so it can save not only time but it can help access care.”

Teladoc, a telehealth company that uses telephone and video conferencing technology to provide on demand remote medical care via mobile devices, the Internet, video and phone, has been pushing for this change to be made for the past six years. After years of pushing, Teladoc’s vision for Texas has finally been realized, as the bill went into effect today.

David Joza, Amarillo ISD Risk Management Director , summed up the convenience and importance of telemedicine nicely by saying, “By our employees being allowed to use video, It'll just provide them a little more ease and access to meet with a physician for any general medical condition they might have…and so it will provide them more comfort to be able to see the doctor either on the phone, on their tablet or their computer and not just talk to them over the phone.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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