Federal grant helps Missouri patients

Monday, April 11 2011

The Missouri Telehealth Network recently received a $220,000 federal grant, allowing the organization to expand its system to further connect rural patients with healthcare providers through video conferencing technology.

According to CNBC.com, the network will use the grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide new technology to 11 sites and update systems at 19 existing clinics starting this summer. This will help patients who may not have the resources to travel to a major city for diagnosis or treatment.

Rachel Mutrux, director for the telehealth network, explained to the news source that "physicians in rural areas will be able to refer their patients to specialists knowing they'll be able to make their appointments without hours of travel." Other than commute hours, rural patients can also save money that they would otherwise spend on travel expenses like gas and accomodation.

Besides state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment - which will allow patients to connect to specialists in metropolitan areas like St. Louis and Kansas City - the facilities will also receive digital stethoscopes, allowing doctors anywhere to hear a patient's internal functions through broadband connection.