Telemedicine delivers health care to patients statewide

Wed, 01/11/2012

Twenty years ago, a patient in Garden City or Salina might have faced hours of travel to Wichita for specialized medical care — or perhaps an even longer commute to Kansas City.

But today, technology has helped minimize travel by enabling telemedicine, where video conferencing equipment and other instruments can submit data electronically to providers hundreds of miles away. The University of Kansas Medical Center began working with these tools in 1991, making Kansas one of the first states with telemedicine.

Over the past 20 years, KUMC has delivered telemedicine to tens of thousands of Kansans through its Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth. Today, KUMC provides clinical telemedicine services in 42 Kansas counties, with sites in the state’s largest cities and smallest communities — including Garden City and Salina.

“We’ve come a long way in the past 20 years,” said Ryan Spaulding, the Center’s director. “Today we use telemedicine to treat patients with cancer, diagnose autism, and educate adults about healthy lifestyle options. Looking ahead, we want to continue using video but also expand access through mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets.”

Telemedicine in Salina and Garden city

  • Salina Regional Health Center uses telemedicine for Tumor Board meetings, which are consultations about the best treatment options available for cancer patients.
  • In Garden City, telemedicine services are offered at facilities such as Sleep Resolutions, a lab that treats patients suffering from sleep disorders, and at the Garden City Area Health Education Center.

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