Telemedicine Use on the Rise
With increased federal funding and rising patient comfort with technology, telemedicine is "moving into practical usage," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat/Salt Lake Tribune reports. Former President Clinton in January signed an appropriations bill that included $1.02 million to develop the Northern California Telemedicine Network, and Congress last year awarded $300,000 to St. Joseph Health System, which operates Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, to establish telemedicine links with Fort Bragg's Mendocino Coast Clinic, Mendocino Hospital and a clinic in Gualala. The Press Democrat/Tribune reports that patients are now "more comfortable" with the "once far-fetched ide[a]" of telemedicine. Dr. Stephen Halpern, CEO of Santa Rosa's MedStream Telecommunications, a telemedicine company, said advances in technology have made telemedicine affordable, reliable, accurate and user-friendly (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat/Salt Lake Tribune, 2/12).