Telemedicine program up and running -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Telemedicine program up and running

Bainbridge- Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge is one of the first hospitals in Georgia to launch a "Telemedicine" program. It allows patients and doctors to link up via the internet, and it's part of a statewide rural health initiative.

     Jim Peak is a heart patient at Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge. But he's getting diagnosed by doctors in Atlanta without ever leaving town. "Once you get settled in, and once you actually listen to the physicians talking back and forth and answering the questions, it's very informative. Very educational," he says.

     This new technology will revolutionize medicine in rural areas. Doctors say it will help them provide better care. "We have to do that by enhancing our own capabilities. And this allows us to do both at the same time," says Cardiologist Dr. Gordon Miller.

     In medicine, doctors say they absolutely must learn from one another's experience. This new Telemed machine is helping that chain of learning evolve even more. "It's hard to keep up in medicine nowadays. And we often have to seek help in the management of a patient. And this will allow us to do that better," says Miller.

     Not only does the "Telemed" machine use a video link, it also allows doctors to use stethoscopes and other equipment on patients. It's a major asset, and a major convenience. "We appreciate help solving these problems," says Miller. "I can schedule an appointment, come in, have the interview, and go right back to work or go do whatever I want to do," adds Peak.

     Eventually, the Telemed program will be available in 36 Georgia hospitals. By the way, doctors advised Jim Peak to give up cigars and get more exercise. He says he'll do both.

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