When an inmate requires a visit with a medical specialist, some correctional institutions are providing care through “telemedicine,” which allows them to see a doctor by video. There are many challenges that can make it difficult to provide in person visits. Prisons are often located in rural areas that are isolated from certain medical specialists. Traveling to medical facilities can be burdensome for sick inmates. The cost of transportation can be significantly higher than a video visit. Videoconferencing for medical care is becoming increasingly common. A survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 30 states out of 45 that responded said they used telemedicine for at least one type of specialty or diagnostic service. Telemedicine is meant to complement in person medical care rather than to replace it. It can make it easier for referring physicians at the jail to work as a team with outside physicians. Still, some advocates worry that it can contribute to isolation of inmates. Learn more here.
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