A recent trend in medical specialties has become a significant problem within the health care industry. Specific hospitals now specialize in certain specialty medicines, forcing people across the country to travel countless miles in order to be treated by the right doctor. For example, Mercy Hospital in St. Louis has specialists whose area of expertise is headache and migraine treatment. This creates a huge problem for people suffering from these ailments who do not live close enough to St. Louis to commute to Mercy Hospital when necessary. However, with new technology, virtual appointments are helping to solve this problem and are now becoming more and more commonplace; this allows for appointments with patients across the country. All the consumer and physician need is their computer.
In the United States, more than half of major hospitals are now using some sort of virtual or remote system for some of their patients. This saves consumers a great deal of money they would have spent traveling hundreds of miles for treatment. Another advantage of virtual appointments is the lowering of wait times and ease of scheduling. Doctors and physicians are able to see more patients via virtual appointments, allowing them to help more consumers and reach more patients requiring serious medical attention.
The Mercy Hospital network, with 42 acute-care specialty hospitals and over 700 clinics and outpatient facilities across the country, is breaking ground this week on a $50 million virtual-care center. When it opens in 2015, it will be home to over 75 various telemedicine programs, which will further assist patients needing treatment great distances from their specialists. In our modern age of text messaging, Facebook, and instant gratification, it’s amazing to see such technologies being used for good and to help treat those in dire need of medical assistance.
By Trent Chamberlain