For Low-Income Burn Patients, Telemedicine Makes a Big Difference

It used to be that El Paso, Texas, burn patients dependent on Medicaid coverage had to travel six hours from home to receive specialized dermatological care, as the closest facility where dermatologists accepted Medicaid was in distant Lubbock.

Now, according to Debbie Voyles, director for telemedicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, thanks to the university’s telemedicine program, El Paso-based patients can access the expert care that they need without a long, draining trip away from home.

In a speech at the World Congress Leadership Summit on Telemedicine, Voyles spoke of the benefits of Texas Tech’s telehealth program for burn patients, providers, and Medicaid alike.  Patients and providers save valuable time with telehealth consultations, Voyles noted, and Medicaid saves money on transportation costs for patients.

She also reminded audience members of the benefits of telemedicine for urban patients as well as those located in rural areas; El Paso, for example, is a city of more than 660,000, yet lacks dermatologists who accept Medicaid.

Voyles was one of many speakers at last week’s summit, which was held in Boston. Several members of the CTeL staff and board also gave presentations for the attendees.

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