California connected health

Submitted by Jerry Halberstadt on Tue, 12/16/2008 - 02:36

The California Center for Connected Health (CCCH) seeks to use telemedicine to provide "affordable, quality health remote, rural, and underserved urban areas." The center has been established as a strategy and planning body to lead and coordinate telehealth adoption throughout the state. Examples of telehealth include providing a network of support for primary care physicians in remote and underserved areas. The telecommunications enables sharing of patient data, images, as well as conferencing so that the physician can get rapid feedback from consultations with specialists; saving travel and expense as well as time. According to Thomas Nesbitt, slated to be the part-time executive director of telehealth services in the CCCH, "Telehealth works best, not as a "demonstration" project grafted onto a broken health care system, but when it is accepted as a way to leverage new technologies to create new models of care that were formerly impossible." Achieving the Promise of Telehealth in California

Thus the California Center for Connected Health is demonstrating a resolve to expand the use of telemedicine, although in a restricted framework of creating distant replicas of medical practice: consultations with distant experts, instead of sending patients to a local expert. It seems to be extending the model of traditional care towards an important set of goals.