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Intel® Technology Story: The Doctors Will See You Now

Intel-based telemedicine systems put doctors and far-flung patients in the same room. Live audio and video connection delivers vital patient data, cutting the time and cost of treating patients in remote locations.

Intel® Technology Story: The Doctors Will See You Now

Imagine for a moment the challenges you would be up against if you lived in the Mexican state of Baja California and needed a cardiac stent. The nearest treatment center is located in the neighboring state of Sonora, across the sea of Cortez, and can only be reached by private plane. A trip that takes at least 4 hours each way and costs hundreds of dollars. And for the average stent patient, at least 3 such visits may be required before doctors can even perform the procedure.

But there is hope for the people of Baja and all the other rural and remote communities of our globe. Because telemedicine technology has the ability to put medical specialists in the same room with patients regardless of where they are actually located. The Medicina a Distancia telemedicine cart enables real-time transmission of high-definition audio and video so that trained specialists practicing in large urban hospitals can "see" and consult with patients at clinics in remote villages. The procedure virtually rivals an in-person examination – although no travel is required.

At its core is a computing system powered by the intelligent and capable Intel® Core™ processor. And it's connected to all kinds of equipment that collects vital patient data and runs medical diagnostic procedures – devices such as a heart monitor, blood pressure machine, thermometer, X-ray machine, CT scanner, ultrasound system, and more. It can transmit this vital patient data as it is being measured, enabling the specialist to "see" both the patient and data in real time in order to make a fully informed diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan on the spot.

Necessary prescription drug therapy or minimally invasive medical procedures can begin immediately, potentially helping people heal more quickly. The patient is then transported from the rural location only if surgery or another hospital-based procedure is deemed necessary. And then only for purposes of actually performing the procedure. Diagnostic and follow-up visits can all be conducted via telemedicine and no longer need to occur in person.

"Our telemedicine system can cut costs in an unbelievable way," explains Dr. Carlos Iglesias, co-founder of Medicina a Distancia. "You can very quickly connect a trained medical specialist with a sick patient anywhere that patient might be, even when that patient is in a remote village lacking any paved roads. With one telemedicine cart at the hospital and another in the local clinic, there is no longer any need to transport the patient simply for diagnostic purposes. You can have top specialists attending the patient immediately."

Telemedicine machines like the Medicina a Distancia cart may very well open the doors – and bridge the oceans and mountains – that currently prevent all people from having access to the best possible medical care. Which means the doctor really will see you, now.