The idea of a patient being "examined" by a doctor in a hospital miles away is a reality with Avera Telehealth. This technology keeps doctors and patients like Bill Rombs in touch.
"Its the best thing we have in this community," said Mary Rombs.
Husband bill has been admitted to Avera St.Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen over the past year, during that time he had numerous Avera Telehealth consults with an infectious disease specialist from Sioux Falls--located almost three hours away.
"The advantage (of the technology) is that we could stay right here at home," Mary said. "I didn't have to take time from my job, my husband doesn't have to travel by helicopter to get there."
This form of telecommunications allows family doctors and patients, many who live in rural communities, to interact with specialists from cities miles far away. The Rombs say it was a huge relief.
"We were totally amazed," she said. "It's just a whole new concept. And when we realized the benefits we were like 'Wow its like being right there with the doctor'."
Legislators say Telehealth is especially critical for those in rural states. In fact, this month, South Dakota Senator John Thune co-sponsored an amendment to an appropriations bill that would increase Telehealth resources across the nation. Senator Thune's Telehealth amendment was passed with broad bi-partisan support by the senate.The bill now contains $13.8 million for the office for the advancement of Telehealth.
If you have questions call 877-AT-AVERA or visit this website: www.averamckennan.org