Monday, 27 February 2012

Healthcare in Rural Areas

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AppId is over the quota

Sometimes when I'm driving across state lines to see friends and family, I often come across rural areas with very little population mostly for agriculture and tourism. I see patches diners and small communities spread across acres of land and I think to myself, how do these people receive the healthcare they need? The nearest facility or metropolitan area is miles away and all they need is a simple check up. The travel cost could range from $20-$50 depending on how far the physician they need is located. And then there is appointment time and waiting time which can use up a lot of their time to make income. How can someone raise a family/children where healthcare is not more widely available? This has boggled my mind for years and years and I finally came to realization that there is a system.

If we could have physicians consult over the phone or via broadband/Wifi or even 3G with video conferencing, that would save patient time. This would also allow patients to be consulted in the comfort of their home or wherever is best to keep themselves private and with ease of mind. And once diagnosed, the patient can even find the nearest pharmacy to the patient and call in a prescription for them so it would be ready when he or she arrives at the pharmacy. Granted, not all prescriptions can be prescribed via over-the-air but those with major headaches, allergies, rashes can easily be helped instantly.

And concurrently, physicians can diagnose the patient in the format thus saving them time and money so they can tend to more emergent patients. These consultations last anytime from 5 minutes to only 15 minutes. With technology always advancing and web developments improving, having online doctors can greatly improve the vast amount of patients who desperately seek healthcare but do not have the time to go into the office. This will also allow physicians to help more in need than they normally would not be able to help.

But how can we improve the broadband services in rural areas? How can we market the idea of tele-medicine and tele-health to those areas? The marketing strategy itself can be a challenge because of such little population with the risk of not enough "clients" to adopt what is marketed to them in their town. In simplest terms, some just may not care and the services that use the ad agencies are out a lot of dollars. I know times will change and healthcare will improve and with the integration of this "Affordable Care Act"...hopefully we'll see some changes even in rural areas where most help is needed. And maybe this time around, telemedicine and telehealth will make its' mark and boom the idea and adoption of advanced medicine.

- Derek "Intrigued by the advancement and future position of medicine."

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