Video conferencing software is especially popular in hospitals because it allows doctors to connect with other facilities throughout their states. Medical professionals can share information, consult with patients and even perform remote diagnoses with the technology. Wisconsin hospitals are seeking to expand their use of the applications to better serve rural areas.
In September, the Marshfield Clinic received a $1 million grant to expand its use of collaboration tools. The money came from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and is meant to help start an "e-hospitalist program" with other medical facilities in the state.
The Hospitalist, the Society of Hospital Medicine's (SHM) magazine, reported that the program will include 15 hospitals, mostly in rural areas where patients do not have access to medical specialists such as oncologists and cardiologists. The technology is also meant to make working in these facilities more attractive to medical professionals.
Doctors sometimes shy away from working in areas where they don't have access to state-of-the-art technology or other medical professionals. The Hospitalist notes that physicians don't want to spend time diagnosing patients because they don't have the proper tools, which commonly happens in rural hospitals without the latest software.