Overcoming Challenges of Rural Healthcare with Telepathology Scanners
Rural healthcare centers offer life-saving medical care to vulnerable groups. But these centers have limited funds to start with. And they tend to be more affected financially by policy changes.
Many of these centers are now dealing with issues surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine. Urban areas have received a greater number of vaccines than rural areas.
And some city dwellers have even traveled to rural areas to get vaccines meant for rural residents.
But the pandemic has also made some positive changes in rural healthcare. For example, many patients have turned to telehealth for virtual doctors’ visits.
The rise of telehealth and broadband services could help rural healthcare centers. They may not have access to certain technology. But virtual and digital technology could make up for this.
In this article, we will consider the potential of telepathology scanners for rural healthcare. These devices could revolutionize modern healthcare.
Keep reading to find out more about these exciting medical developments!
A Quick Look at Telepathology
Like a telephone, a telepathology scanner carries information across long distances. The idea of telepathology started in 1986. But the first telepathology devices didn’t arrive until 1989.
Telepathology scanners work by using telecommunications technology. These devices send images or videos. Pathologists look at these images and draw conclusions or make diagnoses.
Types of Telepathology
There are three main systems used in telepathology. These include virtual slide systems, real-time systems, and image-based systems.
Systems that use images are the easiest and least expensive to use. However, they can only capture a subset of what other systems can.
Real-time systems use special microscopes that have specific virtual software. This lets pathologists look at images and examine them in real-time.
These systems are great for receiving immediate diagnoses. When patients get the right diagnosis quickly, they can start treatment immediately.
Whole slide imaging digitizes glass slides containing various samples. Telepathology scanners can create a digital image of an entire slide.
Virtual slide systems provide the most accurate results of the three telepathology systems.
Uses for Telepathology
Telepathology has many different uses in the medical field. Pathologists can use this technique to diagnose frozen sections. They can also consult with other pathologists for a second opinion.
In some cases, a pathologist might be unsure about a given diagnosis. They can use telepathology and video conferencing to confirm with colleagues.
Certain pathologists might not be experienced with a patient’s condition. In this case, pathologists can use telepathology to contact the right specialist for their patients.
These systems also allow doctors to update electronic medical records. This makes it easier for other doctors to follow a patient’s health journey.
A telepathology system requires a bit of start-up effort. But after it’s installed, the system is not expensive to operate.
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about telepathology, let’s take a look at why this can be important for rural health.
Telepathology for Rural Healthcare
People who live in rural areas in the US often struggle to get access to healthcare. They may not live near a health center. Or the center near them might not have the equipment they need.
Other healthcare barriers might include:
- Lack of confidence in medical professionals
- Limited access to medical insurance
- Inadequate public transportation options
- Inability to take time off work
According to the American Hospital Association, 121 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. For patients living in rural areas, this further impacts their access to adequate healthcare.
Telepathology can help rural patients get the care they need. Let’s learn more about this now!
Benefits of Telepathology in a Rural Setting
As noted above, patients in rural areas might not live near specialist centers. With telepathology, local physicians can access specialist support. This broadens individuals’ access to service in rural areas.
Patients who work with remote specialists might feel more confident in their healthcare provider. This could improve the chance that they will continue to seek healthcare in the future.
Doctors working in remote areas will also benefit from telepathology. Regular communication with specialists across the country can keep them up-to-date on recent medical findings.
Telepathology also speeds up the diagnosis process. Some rural patients have a hard time getting to their doctor’s office. A speedy diagnosis and treatment program will help save them valuable time.
It will also protect their information. Data collected during telepathology can be uploaded on a cloud platform. This ensures that patients’ information is safe.
Of course, the cost of telepathology is a crucial factor. Once it’s set up, a telepathology system is cheaper to use than conventional pathology systems.
Since many rural healthcare centers face funding obstacles, this affordability is key.
Individuals living in rural or remote areas need support. Without regular access to healthcare, the chance of serious health issues increases.
Over the past year, we have seen a push for equity in the healthcare system. Telepathology might offer one solution to health inequality across the world.
The rise of telehealth options offered a solution for social-distancing hurdles. But the continued use of these systems might make a far-reaching social impact for years to come.
Specialist Direct is proud to be a part of this important mission. Our solutions offer real-time access to leading medical specialists. In this, we can work to maximize health outcomes for every patient.
Learn More Today
Are you or your company interested in telepathology solutions for rural healthcare? Then Specialist Direct is just the organization for you.
Our committed team of professionals is dedicated to helping our clients achieve their medical technology goals. We offer competitive rates and unparalleled turnaround times.
Get in touch today to learn more about how Specialist Direct is right for you! We can wait to make your success our priority.