In Montana, the Eastern
Network (EMTN) grew from a network of
five hospitals to an association of 11 sites. Now, these 11 sites also
are connected to others across the U.S. and around the world,
establishing an international presence.
The University of
Tennessee (UT) Medical
Center initiated its telemedicine
practice in 1995. Since then, electronic visits to the Center’s
patients have increased by 178 percent per year. Dr. Sam Burgiss, who
heads the UT Telemedicine Network, says “Having the correct level of
medicine at the correct time minimizes the cost of care.
Telemedicine is a method that provides access to the correct
level of care at the correct time.”
is changing the culture of
medicine. In the past, rural healthcare providers often worked in a
vacuum, forced to make hard decisions alone. Telemedicine capability
means that rural physicians can now consult with “teams” of skilled
healthcare professionals located far away. Rural healthcare providers
are no longer going it alone. And, for patients burdened by chronic
illnesses, this “team approach” offers access to extended resources
that may transform their lives.