Office of Insurance and Safety Fire CommissionerRalph T. Hudgens
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Rural Healthcare Frequently Asked Questions



  What is the Georgia Telemedicine Program?
Telemedicine is a health care delivery method that applies high-speed telecommunications systems, computer technology and specialized medical cameras to examine, diagnose, treat and educate patients at a distance. A telemedicine event can be done in one of two ways:

  • Live Video – primary care provider, the patient and a Specialist meet at the same time using video and telephone equipment.
  • Store and Forward – an image of the patient’s condition is taken and sent electronically to the Specialist for review.

  Why is Telemedicine used?
Telemedicine provides a rural patient better access to specialty care. Patients in rural areas often have a hard time seeing a specialist because:
  • There are not any specialists in the area
  • Patients have to travel a great distance to see a specialist
  • Patients have to take time off from work or school
  • Patients have to wait a long time to schedule an appointment
  • Patients are uncomfortable with seeing someone other than their regular doctor
Telemedicine helps to solve these problems by connecting the specialist and the patient using technology.

  What Types of Specialists are Available?
The Georgia telemedicine program utilizes more than 20 specialties including behavioral health, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics, and psychiatry.

For Live Video Telemedicine:
  • The patient’s physician decides that a specialist is needed and that it may be best to use the telemedicine equipment.
  • The patient agrees to have the appointment via telemedicine rather than in person.
  • The Presentation Site schedules the telemedicine appointment and provides all of the information to the specialist.
  • During the appointment, the patient is “presented” by someone at the Presentation Site to the specialist using the video camera.
  • The specialist makes the recommendations to help the patient.

For Store and Forward Telemedicine:
  • The patient’s physician decides that a specialist should review the patient’s condition.
  • The patient agrees to have an electronic image taken of their condition.
  • The Presentation Site forwards the patient’s information and images to the specialist.
  • The specialist makes recommendations back to the Presentation Site to help the patient.

Paperwork:
  • The patient must give authorization for their doctor to use telemedicine.
  • The Presentation Site submits a monthly utilization report to the Department of Insurance describing what telemedicine events have done.

  How Does Telemedicine Work?
For Live Video Telemedicine:
  • The patient’s physician decides that a specialist is needed and that it may be best to use the telemedicine equipment.
  • The patient agrees to have the appointment via telemedicine rather than in person.
  • The Presentation Site schedules the telemedicine appointment and provides all of the information to the specialist.
  • During the appointment, the patient is “presented” by someone at the Presentation Site to the specialist using the video camera.
  • The specialist makes the recommendations to help the patient.
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