Did you know that at least 15 million children in the U.S. live in “Health Professional Shortage Areas” (HPSAs), defined as regions with an average of less than one health professional for every 3,500 people? Far from hospitals, primary care doctors and specialists, these kids often miss out on getting the care they need. Telehealth can help bridge the gap between health professionals and these communities.
Our sister blog Vector spotlights various initiatives that have creatively used telehealth to care for children in remote areas. The results are encouraging: timely, cost-effective care — when insurance regulations cooperate.
Between June 2013 and June 2014, 11-year-old Carson Domey had 36 doctor’s appointments, most of which were with gastroenterologist Michael Docktor, MD, at Boston Children’s Hospital. Carson, who has a rare form of Crohn’s disease that causes oral inflammation, lives in in Dudley, MA—an hour-and-a half car ride from Boston.
“Sometimes, by the time we can schedule an appointment and drive there, my symptoms are gone,” he says. “Telemedicine would allow me to miss less school and get immediate attention when I need it.”
“The time out of school is huge,” says Carson’s mother, Michelle.
Docktor is equally passionate about this issue. “He can Skype into school!” he adds emphatically. “Why can’t he do that for a doctor’s appointment?”
Well, why can’t he? What is stopping Carson and so many other children like him from receiving follow-up clinical care via video conferences—otherwise known as telemedicine? …Read More