Telemedicine is proving a boon to nurse practitioners who use this technology to provide many of the same services that a doctor can. For instance, Steve McCrosky uses telemedicine from his Flagstaff, Arizona clinic to see 200 HIV/AIDS patients across an area that covers 60,000 square miles – a feat that was impossible before the integration of medicine and communications technology.
Companies have started using this technology, too, so their employees can get quality health care without having to go to a doctor’s office. Crowley Maritime Corp. in Jacksonville, Florida unveiled a new “telemedicine kiosk” in its headquarters in September 2015, which offers video conferencing with a nurse practitioner. The kiosk has basic health screening devices that can examine oxygen rates and blood pressure. In addition, it offers a video scope to examine patients’ mouths.
The company set up the kiosk in partnership with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami and HealthSpot healthcare clinics. While it is the first of its kind in Northeast Florida, multiple companies in South Florida use medical consulting kiosks.
As of 2012, more than 36 million Americans had used some form of telemedicine. However, this figure includes text and email in addition to video. Videoconferencing has proven to be much more convenient than taking time away from work to see a health care practitioner. This type of technology has greatly reduced travel costs for patients in rural communities, since it can save patients from having to drive hours for a basic diagnosis. Plus, telemedicine complies with HIPAA laws, so it is much safer to use than technology such as Skype.
Being able to teleconference with a nurse practitioner can help both patients, who benefit from the convenience of being able to squeeze in a doctor visit during their lunch break, and their employers, who benefit by reducing employee absences and healthcare costs.