Vacationing on Swan’s Island Maine recently, I saw first-hand the benefits of telemedicine. Swan’s Island doesn’t have a nurse or physician on the island. With a year-round population of 350 and a summer population of over 1,200, getting medical attention in this far flung place several miles by water to the mainland is a challenge. Imagine having to take a ferry 40 minutes one-way and then drive another 30 minutes just to see a doctor. Not to mention the expense of the ferry (over $40 round trip). Many people ignore medical issues that can become larger issues if left untreated.
In speaking with the medical assistant on the island, many island residents ignored health issues until they required an off-island visit. Now patients can visit the island clinic to visit with a doctor via video conferencing technology. Much like that commercial with Ellen Page (Cisco commercial), the doctor is able to see, speak with, diagnose and prescribe a course of action without traveling to the island or the patient having to leave the island. What a great use of technology.
With just basic IT infrastructure, telemedicine is making a real difference now!!