Cost Savings of Tele-Medicine Validated - Telephones and new technology greatly expand outreach to those in need

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According to results of a pilot study presented at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America 31st Annual Conference, Prolonged exposure (PE) therapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be safely and effectively delivered to veterans living in rural areas via telehealth,. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center, Charleston, found veterans who received PE therapy via telehealth experienced similar improvements in PTSD symptoms as their counterparts receiving in-person care. Furthermore, the safety profile of the 2 treatment delivery methods appeared to be equivalent.

Telemedicine can be defined as interactive healthcare or transferring medical information using modern telecommunications. The use of communications and information technologies for the delivery of clinical care can be used by the pharmaceutical industry to improve therapeutic efficacy and compliance. Telehealth is reference to both [clinical and non-clinical services which include medical procedures but can also include education, administration and research.
"Those of us in the field of tele-medicine have long known that it is both effective and cost-saving, but it is gratifying to now see a study proving that so convincingly,” said practicing physician and Thyroid expert Richard L. Shames. For the last ten years Dr. Shames has been providing successful telephone and email thyroid coaching for both patients and their [local doctors all over the country, and more recently to Europe and Japan.

Joining Dr. Shames in the tele-medicine division of the northern California [Preventive Medicine Center are his wife, Karilee, a specialist in psychiatric nursing, and their daughter, Georjana, a thyroid acupuncturist. Said Karilee Shames, RN, "We consider helping people far away to be a [family affair. We have raised our three children to have global consciousness. Shauna does international travel in her work at Harvard, and now Georjana has joined the tele-medicine practice."

Technology Trends in Tele-Medicine
‘Mobile Health Clinics’--This includes technology such as the eDoc Telemedicine/EHR system which is a rolling workstation, including a PC, blue tooth and video technologies, that supports multiple party live streaming video conferencing, store and forward technology and makes information at the point of care.
Real-Time Remote Medical Diagnosis System (RTRMDS)--Rather than specifically focusing on patient interaction, this technology is the application of radio-diagnosis, where medical information is transferred real-time via high-speed internet connection to get expert opinion without delay. Using this technology, technicians can use CT scans, MRIs and ECHOs and be supervised by a remote medical expert. This obviously has implications for drug prescription, earlier disease detection and intervention, as well as patient outcomes.
Electronic Medical Records--Mining of real patient records is becoming far easier with the expanding electronic [health records. It will inevitably result in more real-world comparisons of drug efficacies, including treating conditions with off-label use and better information on how certain drugs can reduce repeat hospitalizations. For the industry it will also lead to a greater observation of low-level adverse events. Considerations will also have to be made in the marketing of new drugs as the therapeutic data will be more accessible and consumers will be increasingly involved in treatment decision-making.
Dr. Shames is optimistic about the future of [tele-medicine; “We are very excited about the possibilities of tele-medicine as technology enables healthcare providers to reach out to patients who might otherwise not be able to meet with us in person. We hope to stay on the forefront of this rapidly-evolving field.”
Dr. Richard Shames is a practicing physician, Thyroid expert, author and teacher (http://www.thyroidpower.com ). He practices at Preventive Medical Center of Marin (http://www.pmcmarin.com ) in San Rafael, California. His latest book, Thyroid Mind Power addresses the role of Thyroid health in depression, anxiety and irritability.

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Ernie Hubbard
Preventive MEdical Center of Marin
(415) 578-3670
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