AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Collaboration Across the Pond

Relations between the US and the UK are particularly amiable, arguably at an all time high, and moving towards modernity, our cultures have engaged in a ‘give and take’ from one another. However, when it comes to discussion of healthcare policy, our politicians and citizens are often quick to dismiss one another’s perspectives.

Despite the huge disparities in approach, each country’s current desires in regards to changing their healthcare situation are fairly equivalent. Both nations are working towards getting better value from healthcare expenditures, encouraging providers to focus on quality with better incentives, and controlling rising health care costs, regardless of the differences in who is paying.

Telemedicine offers both systems huge advantages in the pursuit of these goals, and the two can learn from one another. In the US, telemedicine has helped curb unnecessary and irresponsible healthcare spending, an important consideration for a nation currently obsessed with combating rising costs detrimental to its economy. Abroad, electronic patient care records are managed efficiently, falling in line with the expectations of the unified, government-controlled National Health Service (NHS) responsible for administrating healthcare.

It is important to keep in mind the great differences in context between the implementation of telemedicine in the United Kingdom and here at home. Of course, the NHS provides citizens with what we have dubbed as “Universal” health care, which is free to the patient at the point of service. In contrast to the Brits’ centrally governed and tax-funded system, care in the US is available through a multitude of competitive providers and is paid for by a patchwork of public and private insurers. The fact of the matter is, telemedicine works as a solution to a myriad of challenges, and both countries are discovering new solutions every day.

Healthcare officials in both countries envision telemedicine playing prominent roles in the future of their respective systems. Perhaps in the short term, this vision will be a common ground on which to open a mutually beneficial dialogue to address the unique challenges facing each nation.



US Government Stands Behind Telemedicine

The USDA has announced its renewed support for the development of telemedicine programs in rural areas. The latest round of funding is part of the agency’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loan and Grant Program (DLT), designed specifically to “meet the educational and health care needs of rural America.” Through loans, grants and loan/grant combinations, advanced telecommunications technologies such as those utilized in the practice of telemedicine provide enhanced learning and health care opportunities for rural residents.

The agency has long stood behind telehealth initiatives, touting the abilities of telemedicine to increase citizen access to quality healthcare while simultaneously opening lines of communication to enhance educational for hospitals and schools in underserved areas. Practitioners in the field of telemedicine share in the ideology that where a patient chooses to live should not affect the quality of care they can access.

The upgraded equipment and professional development that will result from the grants will help extend telemedicine services to a larger network of rural dwellers. As telemedicine networks grow, the benefits will continue to grow, both in terms of both improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.