Mayo Clinic pilot aims to more quickly connect employee patients, care providers

A new initiative aims to provide patients with real-time interactive communication with healthcare providers using high-definition videoconferencing via digital medical devices in a walk-in kiosk setting.

The telemedicine platform is being developed for the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Minnesota, and is aimed at reducing healthcare costs while boosting medical service access via cloud-based software, according to an announcement 

"Mayo Clinic is committed to reducing healthcare expenses for employees and employers by improving access to medical services through convenient and more affordable care through Mayo Clinic Health Connection," Matt Bernard, MD, Southeast Minnesota region Primary Care Service Line chair, said in an announcement. Patients will avoid having to take extended time away from work to get needed healthcare, and it could lead to less employee absenteeism, Bernard said.

The pilot will allow workers to interact with physicians and nurses without an appointment when dealing with common minor health issues such as rashes, a cold, sinus infections and skin conditions, according to the announcement. 

The pilot is one of many such initiatives taking place as employers grapple with increasing healthcare costs, consumers embrace technology for both convenience and cost reasons and tech vendors create and develop new tools and systems to meet such expectations.

For instance, the Northern Maine Medical Center is using cameras, monitors and wireless devices as part of a telemedicine services effort with Eastern Maine Medical Center. The system will allow for real-time, video-based trauma consulting between three healthcare facilities and replace the traditional telephone consulting approach.

And a pilot effort integrating smartphones into a Arizona medical facility's telemedicine program allowed trauma doctors to perform more teletrauma consultations in five months than a preceding two-year period and provided quicker and expanded access to specialists.

To learn more:
- read the announcement

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