California medical clinic using video technology to help rural patients

Thursday, July 1 2010

The Sierra Family Medical Clinic in Nevada City, California, is using video conferencing technology to help its more than 120 diabetes patients receive better care, the Union newspaper reports.

Through a partnership with the University of California, Davis, the clinic has established a video conferencing link to the university hospital. Later this month, the paper reports that specialists from the school will begin live classes for diabetes patients to help them understand their special dietary needs.

"For some of our patients, it's hard to pay for enough gas in their car just to get here. Davis is a two-hour drive," Wendy Barnhart, the director of operations for the clinic, told the paper. "Anything we can do to alleviate that is a big help to them."

The clinic is actually the first facility the hospital is using for a trial program, which the paper reports is expected to include 18 additional rural medical centers,

Telemedicine continues to be a rapidly growing field. Datamonitor says that revenues from the industry have shown annual growth of 10 percent, and have reached $500 million in North America this year alone.