Mayo Clinic Health System gets $1 million to beef up telemedicine

ROCHESTER, Minn. (WKBT)- One-million dollars is going to boost Mayo Clinic Health System’s telehealth program.

The money is coming from the Federal Communications Commission Wireline Competition Bureau.

A Mayo doctor says their telemedicine program saw a 100-fold increase in usage over the course of 3 weeks at the start of the health crisis.

Mayo has been doing telehealth for years, but when the pandemic hit it was the only way for many people to get care.

Also, barriers that were in place with insurance companies and the government were temporarily removed.

“We’ve sent some devices to skilled nursing facilities so those residents can be evaluated in place and determine whether they need to transfer to the hospital or whether they’re better off staying the facility. We’re using it in our hospitals so that patients that are there and need to be in isolation, can truly be in isolation from those health care workers who don’t need to go into their room but still need to communicate with them,” said Dr. Steve Ommen of the Mayo Clinic.

Mayo is also using the technology to allow patients who are in the hospital to connect with their loved ones on the outside.