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A New Avenue for Telemedicine
A recent article published by HealthLeaders Media discusses studies focusing on the use of telemedicine in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Telemedicine is a technique that uses technology remotely to diagnose and treat patients, with or without a physician or clinician in close proximity to the patient. Telemedicine is continuing to grow in its utilization for caring for acute-care patients. The study analyzed the use of telemedicine to assess coma patients in a Mayo Clinic ICU in Arizona. Two physicians took part in this study, one physician provided bedside assessments and the other used telemedicine to remotely analyze the patient from a different room. Both physicians assessed the patients using the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Full Outline of UnResponsiveness Score (FOUR). The study found that both physicians evaluated the patients similarly, which is an encouraging finding. The use of telemedicine is beneficial for all areas in the country, in particular, rural areas. Telemedicine utilization in rural areas allows for a timely assessment of a critically ill patient, including a stroke or heart attack patient. Telemedicine prevents the risk of long patient transport to another, more qualified facility, and can improve the “window for a treatment opportunity” for that patient. While telemedicine is not new to the healthcare industry, its advancements continue to develop and are more pertinent to the care that is necessary for patients, as well as the location of care.