Telemedicine: Increasing Access to Healthcare

DrSiddiqui2a[1]When we think about telemedicine, we generally think about equipment, space for hardware, and connectivity. Rarely, do we think about the fact that telemedicine is truly about connecting people. Telemedicine enables patients and physicians to make a connection, a human connection, and make significant decisions regarding one’s immediate or long-term health goals.

Telemedicine increases access to healthcare whether in an urban or rural setting. And nothing better demonstrates this seamless integration of people and technology than a service introduced by the California Telehealth Network, CTN Connect, based on Vidyo’s platform. With use of this service, no longer are telemedicine providers or patients thinking about boxes, equipment and locations. Instead the solution enables healthcare providers to focus more on patients and healthcare delivery.

As simple as this seems, the healthcare community and decision makers need to realize that technology fundamentally changes how we think about and how we deliver healthcare.

As a telemedicine provider for over a decade, I have been tied to my desk because of legacy video conferencing hardware. I often had to run back to my office to see patients or interact with physician colleagues due to the boundaries of older technology. Thankfully this is no longer an issue. Instead, I can now connect with hospitals, clinics and patients anytime, anywhere and on any device. With CTN Connect, I can be in my clinic using my laptop to connect with a patient, walk around the hospital and utilize my tablet to urgently see a patient in the ICU, or be at my desk and deliver a lecture to colleagues hundreds of miles away in multiple locations.

This was the vision of telemedicine that many of us have had for years and now it is a reality.

A situation that clearly demonstrates this ubiquitous access was a young patient I saw a few months ago.

Watch the video above to view this patient’s story - Alexa’s Story 1/30/14 from Vidyo Inc. on Vimeo.

On late Sunday afternoon, I received a call from the emergency department asking for anti-bacterial recommendations for a young woman with calf pain and a high fever.

After briefly speaking with the physician, I questioned the “simple” nature of the case and asked to see the patient. I utilized my tablet to connect to the emergency department and was speaking with the patient and the healthcare team instantly. Within a minute of seeing the patient, I realized that she was critically ill and, in consultation with the on site healthcare team, determined immediate surgical intervention was required.

The patient was fighting for her life as she went into surgery and continued to struggle post-operatively., But because of CTN Connect and the Vidyo platform, I was able to be at the patient’s bedside. speak with her family and work with the healthcare hospital team to deliver state-of-the art healthcare to this young women, regardless of the fact that her hospital was in a rural location.

The ease and simplicity of this telemedicine connection was due to our utilization of the CTN Connect service powered by Arkadin/Vidyo. During the days that followed and throughout this young woman’s care, we never dealt with technology or equipment hurdles. We were able to focus  on what was really important – delivering quality healthcare and focus on the patient’s wellbeing.

This is what telemedicine was meant to be.

These days we use technology in every aspect of our life: we communicate with our loved ones through texting, email and real time video conferencing, we buy clothes and groceries online, we pay bills and manage our money online. These activities represent an integration of technology in the very fabric of our daily activities.

There is no reason why technology cannot have the same impact on our healthcare delivery.

JaveedSiddiqui Javeed Siddiqui MD, MPH is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer for TeleMed2U. In addition to being an Infectious Diseases physician, Dr. Siddiqui is a recognized medical technologist who has previously held an appointment at the School of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Siddiqui has been actively involved in telemedicine and telehealth since 2002 and has been recognized as a national thought leader in these fields. Dr. Siddiqui served as the Medical Director of one the nation’s top telemedicine programs at the University of California, Davis. In addition, Dr. Siddiqui was the first Medical Director of California’s Institute for Science and Innovation, The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society [CITRIS]. Dr. Siddiqui co-founded TeleMed2U in 2010.

 

 

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