Both in the United States and around the globe there is a mismatch between needed medical care and the doctors who can provide it. Most physicians are located in urban areas where there are hospitals, teaching schools, lab and Xray and specialists to deal with most every medical condition. Rural areas in the United States lack these resources and patients either do without, or must travel far to be seen. In developing countries there may be no services at all for hundreds of miles. That is where telehealth can play a huge role in bringing medicine to the people.
The “In-touch” robot is one technology that can work all over the world. Through a simple lap-top computer a doctor can Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
The UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization released a white paper today on Modernizing Rural Health Care. To quote from the UHG presser,
- [The paper] projects an increase of around 5 million newly insured rural residents by 2019 – even as the number of physicians in rural America lags
- Quality of care is rated lower in rural areas in 7 out of every 10 health care markets; both physicians and consumers in rural areas more likely to rate quality of care lower than those in urban and suburban markets
- Innovations in care delivery – particularly telemedicine and telehealth – can absorb future strain on rural health care systems
The paper inventories the current state of health care for the 50 million Americans living in a rural setting — and it’s not pretty. The question, of course, is why does rural health compare unfavorably to urban health metrics, and what can be done to improve matters? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*
California debuted new rules that specify patients in health maintenance organizations (HMO) see a doctor within 10 days of asking for an appointment. Calls must be return within a half-hour, and health professionals must be available 24/7. Urgent care must be seen in 48 hours.
Richard Frankenstein, FACP, former president of the California Medical Association, told the Los Angeles Times that this places pressure on the HMOs to have a big enough network to deliver what they promise. Critics contend this will force doctors to rush patient care even more, or be especially damaging to rural areas already facing a shortage. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*