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The Doctor Will Skype You Now

A Georgia nurse consults with a doctor 80 miles away
A Georgia nurse consults with a doctor 80 miles away

When children in rural Georgia need a doctor, there’s a chance they’ll go to the nurse’s office at school, sit near a cart with videoconferencing equipment, and speak to a pediatrician hundreds of miles away.

With few physicians available to see the state’s 1.9 million rural residents in person, telemedicine connects patients with specialists, says Paula Guy, chief executive officer of the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, a nonprofit based in Waycross. “The doctor can see in the ear, diagnose an ear infection, call the pharmacy locally, and then the pharmacy delivers the medicine,” says Jeffrey Kesler, TeleHealth’s chief operations officer. “Within basically 30 minutes the child is seen, assessed, diagnosed, and treated, without the child and parents having to take half a day to drive to see the pediatrician.”