TELEMEDICINE: Internet Offers Hospitals, Doctors New Tools
As the Internet becomes more prevalent in doctors' offices, the use of telemedicine grows in popularity, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Times reports that two companies are pioneering products that can help doctors around the state to provide care to patients "who live hundreds of miles away." IntraCom has a new product called "MedEcho," which allows doctors "to watch a heart's ultrasound over the Internet" in real time. Virtex is another company that helps physicians to send images over the Internet. Many local physicians are already using telemedicine technology and exploring opportunities for further innovation, thanks to FCC grants for hospitals to "obtain high-speed Internet access" aimed at promoting affordable rural health care. Despite legal and logistical challenges, many telemedicine advocates are optimistic. Pierre Wong, director of echocardiography at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles, a test site for MedEcho, contends that researchers are on the right path. He said, "The future of telemedicine is clearly the Internet" (Surman, 3/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.