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Patients

Image depicting Health devices are increasingly “connected”

From connected refrigerators that display the latest family photos to connected buttons that instantly place an order for laundry detergent when you press them, the Internet of Things is vast and growing rapidly. Health care is not immune to this new connected fever. Health care leaders and innovators are quickly developing connected health things that offer powerful new ways to care for people.

Patient communicating with doctor via telemedicine

“Telemedicine doesn’t work!” That’s what I heard a few years ago from two angry friends who knew I worked in the field of telebehavioral health.

It turned out that the husband had had symptoms that led the ED staff at their local hospital to think he might be having a stroke. That hospital had a telestroke service, which was used to determine whether he had had an ischemic stroke and needed the clot-busting drug tPA to save his life.

Telehealth doctor speaking with patients

In rural areas, telemedicine offers patients the opportunity to get specialty health services and physician consultations without the need for extensive travel. Rural telemedicine may be the great equalizer for rural populations, which typically experience reduced services and less favorable health outcomes compared to populations served by large medical centers.

Patient meeting with doctor via telemedicine

I was vacationing in a tiny, remote mountain town on the east coast last summer when I became ill. It was a Sunday evening and the local urgent care center didn’t open until the next morning. I didn’t want to wait 15 hours for urgent care, and I didn’t want to be driven to the regional ER, where I might have to wait a long time to be seen—and might be exposed to something contagious while in the waiting room.

Luckily, I had recently heard about one of the companies that provides urgent care visits via telemedicine. So I took out my iPad, loaded the app, and called in.

Phyllis Webster, Telemedicine Case Coordinator for ATP

Graduate school or full-time job?

That was the question Phyllis Webster was pondering after getting her bachelor’s degree in cultural and biological anthropology from the University of Arizona. In late 1996, she opted for full-time job, as a research specialist with the newly formed Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP).

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