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Using Telemedicine to Improve Health Care in Distant Areas
Jane Preston; Frank W. Brown; Bette Hartley
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; 4030 Braker Lane, Suite 550, Austin, Texas 78759

Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta

University of Wisconsin, Madison

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Many users consider telemedicine a partial solution to problems of delivering health care to remote areas or areas underserved by clicians. Current telemedical technology benefits from recent developments such as the decreased cost and improved quality of the coderdecoder (codec) equipment used in interactive digital video systems and the expansion of fiber-optic cable networks. The authors outline some pioneering telemedicine programs of the 1960s and 1970s and describe two recently activated systems in Texas. One network, serving the western two-fifths of the state, links faculty members from four campuses of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center with almost 40 rural communities. The other connects the state hospital and three other facilities in Austin with four health care sites in the town of Giddings, 65 miles away. Besides serving patients, the systems provide continuing medical education and support to reduce the isolation of rural health care professionals. Primary goals include evaluation and certification of telemedical training and analysis of the cost feasibility of telemedical services.

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