In alignment with UC Davis Health's mission to provide outstanding clinical care and public service, the Center for Health and Technology Telehealth Program was established in 1996 to improve access to specialty neonatal care for expectant mothers living in a small community 60 miles from the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Today, the program is one of the largest telehealth programs in the country, expanding its reach through the Center's internationally recognized and accredited education program, providing leadership in the creation of the California Telehealth Network (CTN), effecting change through collaboration on telehealth policy, changes in legislation, and advancing eHealth adoption throughout the State.
How does it work?
Telehealth is the provision of health care over a distance. There are several different ways this can be done--the two most common means are through live-interactive (synchronous) and store and forward (asynchronous) telemedicine. Using high-speed internet and specialized videoconferencing equipment which offers secure connectivity, a patient located at a remote clinic site can connect to the specialist at the UC Davis Medical Center. Through this method, there is a live and interactive two-way audio-video exchange between the patient, their primary care physician, and the specialist. Another frequently used method is store and forward telemedicine, which is the transmission of still images via e-mail or other secure connection for interpretation by the specialist at a later time. This is often used in specialties such as dermatology and ophthalmology.
Why use telemedicine?
Medically underserved areas in California have historically had inadequate geographic access to health care specialists. This disparity in access has led to adverse results for patients who might have otherwise had excellent outcomes. Through telemedicine, however, patients do not have to leave their community and can gain access to specialists located hundreds of miles away. Further, through the use of a consultative model, there is a bi-directional education and communication occurring between the primary care provider and the specialist. The primary care provider remains responsible for the patient's treatment plan which results in an improved coordination of care.
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