The Benefits of Telemedicine
The future of medicine has arrived. For the first time this past fall a telemedicine robot roamed the football sidelines. Dartmouth College in New Hampshire has adopted telemedicine robot technology which was first validated by the Mayo Clinic in 2013. This telemedicine robot stood on the sidelines for all five of Dartmouth’s home football games this past fall. This allowed the neurosurgery section to provide remote assessment of Dartmouth players who had suspected concussions.
Telemedicine is the ability to provide clinical health care at a distance, via telecommunications and information technology. It has been very useful in saving lives in critical emergency situations and improves access to medical services that would not normally be available to those who live in rural communities.
In sports, athletes while traveling have limited access to their regular care team and have to work with unfamiliar medical staff when it matters most. However through telemedicine, athletes will better receive the care and attention needed to stay in optimal health regardless of location. This would also help keep athletes and medical support staff in close contact staying connected to their home network of physicians and specialists regardless of where they are on the globe.
Dartmouth strives to make sure that their athletes receive the best medical care possible. The program will be expanded in the near future to other Dartmouth sports teams such as the Nordic ski team, who while practicing in remote locations will have access to telehealth should an accident happen. With telehealth they will have access to the latest and greatest technology allowing immediate accessibility of a neurosurgeon should a player receive any head injury with the integration of tablets and smartphones.
Telemedicine provides peace of mind to all traveling athletes knowing that their regular caregivers are available via laptop, smartphone or tablet. As telemedicine technology further develops, interactions between physicians and patients will become easier. Welcome to the new age, where the future of medicine just got a whole lot brighter!