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What types of care settings can benefit from telehealth technology?

Telehealth technology can be a valuable addition to a wide variety of care settings. Store-and-forward programs allow a smaller hospital to draw on the knowledge of a much larger one, and so teleradiology and teledermatology programs may be of particular interest to critical access hospitals and rural health clinics. However, store-and-forward telemedicine applications used in place of typical face-to-face interactions, such as teledermatology, are not typically reimbursed by third-party payers, except in Alaska and Hawaii.  Applications such as teleradiology and remote EKG applications are more likely to be covered by third party payers as they do not typically involve direct interactions with patients. Home monitoring and patient education can bridge gaps in the care of chronic conditions, so these and similar programs can benefit ambulatory or primary care settings. In general, telehealth programs can effectively shrink the distance between nodes of rural care, whether in stabilizing trauma patients or offering ongoing contact with an obstetrics specialist.

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