Centura Health and United Healthcare have launched their Connected Care program in multiple rural Colorado communities to help hospital doctors better reach patients in remote areas.
Patients will go into private rooms at local medical centers, where trained doctor's assistants will help doctors measure vital statistics and use the high-tech medical equipment that doctors say is as good or better than that in a traditional office.
A special stethoscope allows doctors to listen to a patient's heartbeat and lung function, while the system's video camera allows doctors to show patients exactly what they are seeing instead of just trying to explain it verbally. Physicians say the technology will allow their patients access to better, more convenient care.
"It allows us to serve our patients that we do rurally in a different way, and most of the time those patients are coming to us," says Dr. Stephen Brown, chief medical officer for Centura Health.
The use of videoconferencing technology by doctors is a practice that will likely continue expanding over the coming years. DailyFinance.com reports that the federal government has pledged $400 million to help more doctors adopt the technology to expand their practices.