Could facilities just use Skype? This notion is still up for debate. The problem is Skype’s technology runs on an outside server and administrators cannot control what happens to the transmission. Fishkind does not endorse Skype as a HIPAA-compliant technology that adequately maintains patient privacy.
As one might imagine, mobile devices are entering into the remote-medical arena, too. ClearSee, a new technology from a company called Life Size, lets users see each other without problems or additional equipment, safely and securely on mobile devices, phones and iPads.
Additional concepts for the future include inexpensive devices that can be installed in a consumer’s home that would allow monitoring and even video conversation with a physician, making it possible to prescribe and mail medication without need for additional transportation. This might be especially useful in a corrections setting where, like in Slevin’s case, a patient requires regular medications.
But for the moment, all facilities really need for successful doctor-patient discourse is a screen, a microphone, a camera and some management. Fishkind says, “If you can turn on a cable box, scroll to your favorite show and press the button, you can use this equipment.”
“It surprises me,” adds Dorsey. “I think there must be something I haven’t thought of … why one or more of the big detention centers haven’t jumped on this and built their own provider network.”
In sum: more doctors, less transport, less risk. It seems an over-simple solution. Then again, maybe it’s simply the future of health care.