Is Telemedicine the Next Big Thing . . . Again?

Vol. 10 No. 3

By

Sam Servello is a partner at Moses & Singer LLP in the Healthcare and Privacy and Cybersecurity practice groups. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Medical Research and Biotechnology, sits on the Executive Committee of the Health Section of the New York State Bar Association, and was formerly Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Health Law Committee.

John lives in a rural town deep in the Adirondacks and shows signs of having a stroke. An ambulance rushes John to a local hospital. The nearest stroke/neurology unit is located 190 miles away in Albany. The majority of strokes may be averted with appropriate specialist intervention if done during the three hours after stroke symptoms first occur. Therefore, the faster John gets help, the more likely permanent brain damage or death will be avoided.

With telemedicine, John’s health care providers at the rural hospital can consult with the stroke specialists at Albany Medical Center via videoconference, sharing data, digital images, lab results, and medical records in real time. John is treated by the physicians at the rural hospital in consultation with the specialists in Albany, saving John from having permanent brain damage due to the quick intervention afforded by telemedicine.

As in John’s case, telemedicine is particularly helpful to patients in rural areas as well as in underserved urban areas as well as those states with large swaths of isolated geography where needed health care specialists may be few in number.

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