Technology is opening up many new ways for patients to interact with the healthcare system in the United States. At the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), there is an active interest in exploring how the tools of technology can be used to improve the service that we provide as well as how those tools can be used by patients to improve their health.
DPH is on its way to establishing a sophisticated telemedicine network with hopes of bringing specialized care to underserved areas of Georgia, saving time and money for patients, providers and public health staff.
Most counties in the state have telecommunications connections to provide telehealth services, such as nutrition counseling, breastfeeding education, HIV consults and much more to clients in remote areas using two-way, real-time technology. Now, DPH is working to give this network the capacity to deliver telemedicine, medical services such as dental care, pediatric neurosurgery, asthma clinics, monitoring of high-risk pregnancies, and much more. DPH has begun distributing telemedicine carts to health districts around the state, each equipped with a stethoscope, otoscope and a general exam camera.
The DPH network could increase access to health care for many Georgians, particularly those in rural areas of the state where specialized medical care is often sparse. According to the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce, 52 percent of Georgia's physicians are located in five areas that serve just 38 percent of the state's population. The state also ranks 40th in the nation when it comes to adequate distribution of doctors by specialty and geographic location.
Georgia Department of Public Health
2 Peachtree St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3142