In states such as Alaska, which are geographically expansive but sparsely populated, telemedicine is providing relief for adults and elderly citizens who find it difficult to travel long distances. An article from Alaskan KNBA Broadcast station covers the expansion of telemedicine throughout the state, spearheaded by nonprofit and state organizations like Alaska e-health Network and the Alaska Tele-health Advisory Council. These advocacy groups are working to set standards, increase efficiency, and help fund telehealth across the region.

CEO of Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API), Ron Hale, says API has been utilizing video-conferencing to connect psychiatrists in Anchorage to rural patients hoping to bypass the strenuous and expensive commuting process. Hale is quoted in the article, saying “there’s all sorts of things that you save. And it makes care accessible. I’m sure it keeps people out of the hospital.”

Findings have shown telepsychiatry to be as effective as in-person sessions explains Associate Professor Dr. Bonnie Kenaley of Boise State University. Having recently conducted a telepsychiatry study involving 115 adults dealing with depression, heart failure, or chronic pulmonary disease, she describes how telemedicine can actually help with mental functioning, self-determination, and decreasing depression.

“If we can keep them at home, we can keep them less depressed,” the article quotes Kenaley. “We can make them feel more productive, have them empowered, then more able to take care of themselves, isn’t that a wonderful thing.”

For more about the KNBA article, please click here.

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