I just came across a report from the New York State Education Department regarding Telepractice (not just in Speech-Langauge Pathology).
Here's a portion:
Telepractice may improve the delivery, cost and accessibility of health care and other professional services. The following are examples of potential advantages in health care:
- Care can be delivered more quickly
While it may take, in some instances, a day or so for an X-ray or report to be delivered via the postal service, the same delivery can be done via the Internet or by facsimile in a matter of minutes or seconds. The implications for this are significant, especially when an emergency diagnosis is needed. Using the Internet to send an X-ray of a child's compound fractured wrist from the site of an accident in rural Monroe County to the radiologist in Rochester General Hospital could potentially save that child from losing wrist mobility.
- Professional services may be delivered less expensively
Using telepractice may reduce patient travel expense when treatment is needed from a provider at a distant location. Similarly, a provider's cost for treating a patient through technology usually involves less overhead expense than an actual face-to-face visit. For example, even though there may not be any pediatric dermatologists within miles, a child living in rural Essex County, suffering from bromhidrosis (a rare, severe condition affecting the skin) could be examined by a pediatric dermatologist practicing at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City without having to travel to Manhattan. Similarly, in the engineering profession, a multitude of design configurations that previously could only be transmitted via the postal service can now be transmitted instantly, and real-time changes can now be made in consultation with professionals located throughout the country.
- Telepractice will allow for the delivery of care to previously underserved areas
Rural and inner-city areas that are currently underserved by general practitioners, medical specialists and other health care providers will benefit from the technology that will allow their residents greater access to services. A radiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, for example, would be able to assist a member of the Iroquois nation in a rural area, remote from health care centers.
- The quality of care may be improved with the use of telepractice
Both consumers and professionals now have access to resources beyond those available in their immediate area. A patient living in Elmira could have her lab tests immediately analyzed by a specialist in New York City.
The full report can be viewed at http://www.op.nysed.gov/telepractice.htm
Marnee Brick, MSc
Speech-Language Pathologist and Director of Therapy Services
TinyEYE Therapy Services