Around 15-20 percent of patients in the United States live in rural areas. Unfortunately, between primary care shortages, hospital closures, and geographic isolation, those patients are up against significant barriers to accessing healthcare. The National Rural Health Association reports there are only 30 specialists per 100,000 people in rural communities, compared to 263 specialists per 100,000 urban residents.
Dr. William Osler said that “the practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling,
not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head."
In the US, regulation of the practice medicine is a state prerogative. Based upon one of the earliest precepts of the establishment of the federal government in the United States, states retain the power to regulate much of what occurs solely within their borders. Physicians are licensed in the state in which they practice and must adhere to that state's mandates. So, can a physician legally serve a patient in need of their specialty if they reside outside of their jurisdiction?
For many doctors, specialists, hospitals, health care practices and medical facilities, the cloud holds a lot of promise for storing and accessing medical imaging studies by physicians and patients alike. Luckily, virtual cloud storage can typically find an application for nearly every type of medical imaging modality, from CT scanners to MRI machines and everything in between.
Suppose a specialist physician in California is corresponding with a patient in Texas who has an urgent illness. The physician wants to schedule an emergency appointment, but needs to review the patient's medical imaging studies to properly confirm and address the diagnosis. The patient could send a CD hard copy of their studies through the mail, but this is costly and wastes valuable time. The CD could also get lost in transit or arrive to the physician broken or unreadable.