Telemedicine Preparedness in Texas to Meet the Needs of the Medically Underserved

Author: Leslie Hinds, MT (ASCP)

Primary Advisor: Kim Dunn, MD, PhD (co-author)

Committee Members:

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.

Abstract:

Texas has the largest percentage of insufficiently insured in the country. Emergency rooms in its major cities are being used for primary/specialty care resulting in drive-by status of Level One Trauma Centers.

As a resolution to this crisis, Teletechnology is being incorporated as a strategic asset to coordinate care and foster collaboration using broadband wired/wireless voice, video, and data integration. Four surveys have been conducted. The first three defined requirements for community clinics practice management systems, current technology platforms used in the safety-net hospitals, and current telemedicine applications in the Houston area. The final survey identified current telemedicine technologies provided within the state of Texas. The results of these surveys verified the existence of required materials, resources, and the ability to guide broad-scale implementation of teletechnology. This technology will improve care in area clinics for the insufficiently insured, thereby reducing the inappropriate usage of area Level One Trauma Centers.