Tele-psychiatry: Sit on your own couch

House calls were once considered a thing of the past, but with specialists in high demand in rural America, psychiatrists are using telemedicine to treat patients in their own homes. From the AP:

"Once the telemedicine session starts, it's no different than a face-to-face," said Dr. Umar Latif of the Dallas VA Medical Center, which has been offering psychiatric sessions over video for more than a year.

"I think that it has virtually unlimited potential," said Dr. Terry Rabinowitz, medical director of telemedicine at University of Vermont College of Medicine. "Not only can we help folks in underserved areas in the United States, but with little — comparatively speaking — investment, we can do consultations worldwide."

New and improved video conferencing tools and high speed internet allow doctors to treat patients hundreds of miles away. The key to having telemedicine work in our homes is having an internet connection that is fast and reliable. For too many Americans who do not have access to the healthcare professionals, telemedicine is the only option for treatment.

Unfortunately high speed internet connections often do not reach Americans in rural areas -- the very people who could benefit most from telemedicine. It's time we give Americans the medical attention they need and deserve and create a high speed internet infrastructure that can improve all of our lives.

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