President's Prescription: Tele-medicine - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

President's Prescription: Tele-medicine

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When a community doesn't have a doctor, a pharmacist or any health care professional for that matter, telemedicine technology provides the needed care to many people. Providing care "closest to home" is what it is all about.

Here's the problem. Of the 108 counties in West Texas

•       22 have no physician

•       21 do not have a community or clinic-based pharmacy

•       32 do not have a hospital

•        and the burn center at UMC in Lubbock is the only Level 1 burn center between Dallas and Phoenix, Arizona.

Meet Tele Doc. Telemedicine allows a physician to examine and treat the patient from a distance.  The equipment includes a camera, an otoscope, a stethoscope and an EKG. So, physicians here in Lubbock can see in detail the person they are examining in another city.

For example, the school nurse in Hart, Texas, is the only health care provider in that town.  But she can link with specialists in Lubbock. This project has saved patients and their families miles and miles of driving and has contributed to improved school attendance. 

Texas Tech also has a burn treatment telemedicine clinic, allowing El Paso area burn patients to receive follow-up treatment over the telemedicine system from Lubbock. With no burn center in El Paso, many patients from that area were forced to travel the 600-mile round trip to Lubbock for initial and follow-up burn treatment. Now, with the assistance of on-site personnel at the El Paso campus using TVs and cameras, the interdisciplinary team in Lubbock can evaluate and treat patients in the same manner they would if the patient were here in the office.

Today, more than 400 patients a month are treated by many different specialties via telemedicine.  Telemedicine takes "From Here Its Possible" to a whole other level. For the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and this is the President's Prescription.

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