Improving Rural Health with Responsible Virtual Care
Tonight, in a rural Midwest farming community, a
54-year-old man suffers a stroke. His wife calls
the local clinic, which offers only dental services
and x-rays; the clinic doctor requests air transport
to a hospital across the state. Responders prep
the helicopter for dispatch and load the patient,
then make the 30-minute trip. By the time they’ve
unloaded the patient and connected him to the
right care team, the patient has lost valuable
treatment time – and the trip has cost $28,000.
The alternative? Virtual care – in this case, a
telestroke solution. A remote neurologist asks
diagnostic questions and observes images in real
time via videoconference. The neurologist orders
the administration of tPA, a FDA-approved clotdissolving
treatment, and arranges follow-up care.
The patient’s door-to-needle time is dramatically
reduced, his recovery accelerated.
Telemedicine can save money, time and patients’
lives across the healthcare spectrum. From
Olympic athletes to elementary school students,
virtual care connects patients to immediate
medical expertise. But its impact is especially
strong in small towns and rural communities,
which often lack healthcare resources beyond
primary care providers.
By connecting rural patients to specialists in other
locales, telemedicine is helping underserved
populations live healthier lives.