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Telehealth services helping doctors reach more patients

Posted at 2:43 PM, Jul 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-11 15:44:15-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Doctors realized that by doing telehealth, they can expand access to anyone.

"There is a shortage of headache specialists and neurologists in the country. There is also a shortage of dermatologists, and beyond shortages, a lot of these providers are extremely expensive or it can take months to get in to actually see somebody," said Varsha Rao, CEO of Nurx.

Not only does telehealth expand access to specialists but to those who live in rural areas as it could take hours for some people to get to the doctor.

"There are a lot of people in the U.S. who live in maybe, ex-urban, suburban or rural areas, and we think telehealth is an incredible solution for people in those geographies," Rao said.

For those without health insurance, typically going to the doctor for medicine means going to an urgent care facility. But telehealth is hoping to change that in the future.

"We want to make sure that people who don't have access, or don't currently have a provider, are still being seen and getting the care that they need, and not just waiting to go to an urgent care facility," Rao said.

Prior to the expansion of telehealth, you had to see a doctor to have labs or preventative testing done. But since the pandemic, there are more options.

"We have the ability to enable people to get access to labs, which we think is very important," Rao said. "Some of our at-home lab tests include HPV testing, which is very widely now recognized as a good alternative to a pap-smear."

In May, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a bill giving $20 million in matching grants annually to expand access to high-speed broadband across the state.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed something similar back in April, improving high-speed internet access to areas currently lacking the technology.

Telehealth doctors hope to treat things like the flu or COVID with an at-home test and a telehealth visit, instead of coming into the office.

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