SMITH/Northview Hospital introduces Telemedicine - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SMITH/Northview Hospital introduces Telemedicine

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

February 9, 2009

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -  Thanks to some high-tech equipment, patients at SMITH/Northview Hospital now have access to a multitude of specialists... Even specialists who may be in another state.

"It's almost like Star Trek medicine is really here," jokes Nurse Practitioner Serenia Carnegie. 

SMITH/Northview introduced its new Telemedicine program today.  The program uses advanced video and computer technology to link patients and doctors who could be miles apart. Georgia's Telemedicine network is the largest statewide network in the country.  This is surprising not only because of our size, but also because our network is the youngest.

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine has fought long and hard to implement Telemedicine throughout the state.  He wants those living in rural areas to have access the healthcare they need.

"People don't want to drive to Atlanta, so they'll put it off and put it off and they're not good about keeping their regular appointments because Atlanta is so far away. This is easy," says Oxendine. 

Commissioner Oxendine has also made sure that Telemedicine will remain affordable.  "He helped pass legislation that enabled insurance companies to give the same reimbursement payment for an office visit for Telemedicine as it would in the actual doctor's office," explains the hospital's Assistant Administrator, Chuck Roberts. 

Telemedicine will provide not only more service, but in may cases, better quality service.  Oxendine adds, "The doctor's tell me that the audio of the heart and lungs is better through the machines than they can get in an examining room."

The benefits will extend beyond those in rural areas.  Representative Jack Kingston explains, "It's also a technology that will help our Moody Airmen. When they're in Afghanistan, they can have access in the field to specialty doctors."

It seems Telemedicine will offer treatments that before only seemed possible in works of science fiction.

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