Doctors use video technology to diagnose patients

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU)- Monday, experts from Mayo Clinic Health System demonstrated a new tool to treat patients.

Local legislators were at the demonstration in Menomonie and were able to see a system that virtually connects patients with doctors through video.

Doctors said it will help reduce time in an emergency situation. They also said seeing a patient is much easier, than to diagnose a patient over the phone.

“It allows us to really do a detailed assessment of the patient and have a collaborative discussion of what the treatment is,” Paul Horvath said, the Mayo Clinic Health System Regional Chair for Emergency Medication.

Wisconsin is 1 of 8 states considering joining the Interstate Medical Licensure group.

The group is part of a program that would help provide care at any time, through video.

Eleven states are already a part of the group.

It would also allow physicians and patients to tap into specialty expertise and not be limited by distance.

“To be able to provide the patient with the right care, at the right time, in the right place; and this really allows it,” Horvath said.

There are many benefits when using the new visual system. One of them includes reducing the time spent traveling for a patient. But it also allows doctors to reduce the amount of time it takes to diagnose patients.

State Senator for the 10th District Sheila Harsdorf presented the Interstate Medical Licensure group in discussion last week.

“There’s a 132 legislatures, and 72 legislatures have signed on as a co-sponsor,” Harsdorf said. “And that is significant. There’s few bills that have that many legislatures signing on.”

This group would allow higher accuracy in diagnoses, as well as avoiding expensive helicopter or ambulance rides.

How it works is a patient can get in front of a camera in a hospital room, and a specialty physician at another location can help diagnose the patient.

“That will improve in emergency cases to people’s access to emergency care, and it will ultimately save lives,” Harsdorf said.

Seven hundred Mayo Clinic Health System physicians are currently licensed in Wisconsin and Minnesota to use the technology.

One machine does cost $25,000, and there are a few bugs being worked out like screen freezes, but Horvath said this would bring greater connections for patients and doctors.

Several hospitals at Mayo Clinic Health System are already using the new technology.



 
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