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Lack of access to quality healthcare is one of the main inequities that keep many Latinos from obtaining the best quality healthcare possible. However, the advent and proliferation of telehealth or telemedicine looks to be a way to bridge the gap between Latinos and their healthcare providers.
Developed as a remote way to monitor patients, treat chronic illnesses and/or conditions, and eliminate barriers (such as a lack of transportation), technology – in the form of telemedicine – looks to be the way of the future as far as healthcare goes, especially for Latinos.
Studies have shown that more and more Latinos are accessing the Internet, especially through smart phones and other hand-held devices. This is the essence of telemedicine. Now, in Texas (38.42% Latino population), a bill has been introduced in the legislature to make access to telemedicine services even easier.
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Under Senate bill 1107, patients and doctors can “establish a relationship without an in-person visit or having another healthcare provider present with the patient.”
According to Healthcare Dive, the new rule will allow several large telemedicine practices to expand their services in the state.
“I think there’s a clearer vision for what the appropriate next steps are to keep the industry safe and credible while increasing value as well as efficiency and cost savings,” said Henry DePhillips, chief medical officer of Teladoc in an interview with Healthcare Dive.
The Texas bill does, however, require doctors providing telehealth services to give patients information about follow-up care. It will also require telehealth practitioners to share records with the patient’s primary care physician.
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