Monday, November 19, 2007

California uniquely positioned to demonstrate benefits of telemedicine

With rural areas comprising about 70 percent of the state along with its well developed medical care and high tech industries, California is uniquely positioned to be a national model for the use of telemedicine, the use of broadband telecommunications to allow doctors to consult with patients online. That reduces the need for patients to drive long distances to see medical providers in distant metro areas.

Kate Ackerman reports in today's California Healthline:

Telemedicine advocates across the country are working to alleviate some of these barriers to facilitate widespread adoption, but California is in a unique position to be a model for the rest of the country.

"California is the perfect state to do this in," said Peter Yellowlees, professor of psychiatry and director of academic information systems at the UC-Davis Medical Center, adding, "Officially, 70% of the state is rural, and it's a huge state. ... So I think the rural geography in California makes it ideal, but I think also there's an attitude of 'can do' in California where people clearly are prepared to try things differently."

One of the biggest obstacles to the use of telemedicine the article neglected to mention is the lack of advanced telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas of California. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose administration is about to issue a report by a blue ribbon task force report on what can be done to remove obstacles to wider broadband availability, is a proponent of telemedicine.

1 comment:

Michael said...

"Advanced telecommunications infrastructure" is no longer a requirement of collaborative telemedicine. Forgive the shameless plug, but take a look at and click on the "Watch It" button.

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