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Published April 04, 2012, 06:17 PM

Altru Offers Medical Advice From Miles Away With Telemedicine

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Altru Hospital is serving patients who live hours away through video conference calls. It's similar to Skype but more invasive. The doctor can record the patient's vitals while saving the patient thousands of dollars.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Altru Hospital is serving patients who live hours away through video conference calls. It's similar to Skype but more invasive. The doctor can record the patient's vitals while saving the patient thousands of dollars.

There's not much of a difference between an in-patient visit and a telemedicine visit. From hearing the heart beat to examining open wounds, the patient receives quality care and saves money in the process.

"How ya been doin? How's the foot more importantly?--it's almost closed?" asked an Altru Doctor.

From Langdon to Roseau, and across Minnesota and North Dakota--Telemedicine serves hundreds of patients.

"Is that the foot right there? I'm gonna wanna look at it," said Dr. Hargreaves.

"Telemedicine is a live audio/visual connection through a secure network, hosted here at Altru," said Altru Regional Services Manager, Marsha Waind.

"And so the doctor sits here and listens?" asked a reporter.

Meaning the doctor can see any wounds, listen to the patients needs, and provide proper treatment.

"Helps me a lot because I got heart disease, kidney disease and problems with my feet," said Telemedicine Patient, Bradley St. Amour.

Not to mention saving the patient thousands of dollars in traveling costs. There is no extra charge for a telemedicine patient.

"Gas is expensive and its a wonderful advantage for the patients, the patients definitely enjoy it," said Waind.

And as gas prices continue to climb the list of pros telemedicine reap is much longer than the cons.

"Probably 150 bucks every time you go to the doctor so I've saved a lot--a couple thousand easy," said St. Amour.

"Number one the advantages are they don't have to travel," said RN, Sharon Brett.

Bradley says without Telemedicine-he doesn't know if going to the doctor would even be an option.

"I would of not went to the doctor or anything," said St. Amour.

Besides saving money for the patient, the patient's local health clinic also benefits by collecting procedure costs like x-rays and lab tests ordered by the Telemedicine doctors.

Altru first began serving patients through Telemedicine in September of 2008 and its grown drastically since then.

The services Telemedicine provides ranges from dermatology to oncology and urology, as well as many more.

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