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Telehealth medical technology continues to be used more in area hospitals

Telehealth medical technology continues to be used more in area hospitals

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Your next doctor visit may be from the comfort of your own home. When weather gets bad, it can add crucial minutes to someone's trip to the hospital. 

Teleheath systems look to get someone in front of a medical professional in as little time as possible.

"This is innovative technology that is cost effective, but also can be life saving," said Dr. Paul Mueller, of Mayo Clinic Health System Southwest Wisconsin. 

Earlier this week, Governor Tony Evers signed a bill giving residents more access to being treated via telehealth.

"They came up with a really great solution and I applaud the governor and the legislature for pushing this forward," said Dr. Scott Rathgaber, CEO of Gundersen Health System.  

The bill will require Medicaid to reimburse several telehealth services, and hospitals are increasing the services they offer. 

In 2017, Mayo Clinic Health System treated more than 30,000 patients with the technology. 

"We know in 2018 those numbers are greater, and they're expanding," added Mueller.  

In its early stages, telehealth was used only to treat certain conditions like a stroke but now hospitals are experimenting with other treatment options.

"We are able to do a lot of our medicine by seeing folks and not having them travel to see us," said Rathgaber. 

"Telehealth has the promise to provide services that are straightforward to live saving services at the hospitals. To care from a cold, to care for a patient experiencing a stroke. 

But there are some cases where telehealth isn't an option. 

"Not everything will be replaced, but there's much that possibly could be replaced," said Mueller. 

As of right now, it's normal to get your check up in person. But as the technology continues to advance, that may be a thing of the past. 

"I do envision that technology will continue to provide more and more opportunities to continue this type of care," projected Rathgaber. 

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