Primary care providers: There are many benefits when telehealth is used in a primary care setting. Telehealth improves access to specialists, makes quality care cost-efficient, enhances the referral process, and results in high patient satisfaction. As telemedicine becomes increasingly prevalent, more insurance plans are covering telehealth visits and consults. This not only benefits patients, but also encourages more providers to offer telehealth services.
Community hospitals: Specialists at the state’s largest medical centers, regional hospitals or other settings will offer hospital-based services, such as stroke consultation, acute psychiatric evaluation and pediatric critical care.
Resources and Support Thanks to advances in technology, telehealth is cost-efficient. In most cases, telemedicine can be arranged with minimal infrastructure that most physician offices already have on hand: a high-speed internet connection, laptop computer and webcam. Inpatient and emergency department-based services will require more sophisticated mobile telehealth carts with remote-controllable high-definition cameras. Other devices, such as hand-held examination cameras, stethoscopes, otoscopes and spirometers may be needed, depending on the specific location and services offered. The South Carolina Telehealth Alliance has already negotiated with medical equipment and software vendors to lower costs and provide the training and support to make telehealth more accessible.
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