Local Health Professionals Prepare For Telemedicine - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Local Health Professionals Prepare For Telemedicine

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Harrison County -

More and more people are caving and opting for a smart phone with the latest tools and apps.

But some of the very technologies that the average person uses for entertainment is also applicable in the emergency room.

"This mobile gateway provides us with Bluetooth and cellular wireless connectivity to and from our vehicles, all 18 of our vehicles," said Jeff Way, Assistant Chief of the Harrison County Emergency Squad.

Within minutes, medics can put together an entire story board about each patient.

"And then it is patient-specific information, what is going on with the patient, what are they presenting, what interventions we performed, what medications we've given, where we've taken them to," Way said.

The Harrison County EMS is using such technologies on a daily basis, and is already gearing up for the future of emergency response.

"We built the system up, forward thinking. To do telemedicine," Way said.

Dr. Chris Goode with United Hospital Center feels very passionate about the promise of telemedicine.

"Telemedicine is the next phase of both emergency medicine and medicine as a whole. It won't be long before telemedicine through data connections over cellular lines and radio waves will be able to take the provider to the patient," Goode said.

Goode said checkups, even surgical procedures, can be done through a computer lens.

"It is possible that a physician can remotely oversee and remotely guide another, perhaps, less trained provider through critical procedures," Goode said.

Goode said not everyone will accept telemedicine with open arms right away, but he said this improves healthcare greatly, as it allows doctors to reach more people.

"There's a shortage of providers, a shortage of places where patients can access care," Goode said.

He said it could also bring down healthcare costs.

"Usually involves taking specialty or sub-specialty services out to smaller hospitals," Goode said.