Commissioner Bennett Highlights Benefits of Telemedicine
Steve Adubato goes on-location to Virtua’s "Evolving Role of Telemedicine - Driving Quality, Access and Cost Savings" event and speaks with Commissioner Cathleen Bennett of the New Jersey Department of Health about telemedicine and what will be required of the state of NJ to make this available to everyone in the state.
"Hi, folks. I'm Steve Adubato, as you may know. But more important, we are down here in southern New Jersey at a conference put together by the folks at Virtua. It's called "The Evolving Role of Telemedicine: Driving Quality Access and Cost Savings." And all the folks who matter in the world of health care in the state of New Jersey and in the larger region are here. And one of those folks, the most significant person in health care in the state of New Jersey, joins us. She is the commissioner of health in the great state of New Jersey, Commissioner Cathleen Bennett. Commissioner, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me, Steve. Commissioner, we just had a conference. We just had a wonderful, very dynamic and candid discussion about telemedicine. Let me ask you. If you were to say what the most significant pros are, if you will, of telemedicine, what would they be? I think the most significant pros have to do with the access to care that it provides, you know, residents, whether they are -- are veterans who are having troubles accessing care, whether it's seniors with mobility issues, caregivers of children or even of their parents who have time issues. Telemedicine provides the ability to access care. I think another significant benefit, though, is also the ability to extend our workforce, our health care workforce, so that needed specialists are available 24/7/365 as well. You know, it's interesting. We're using the term telemedicine, Commissioner. And I don't want to assume that everyone knows exactly what it means. It sounds self-explanatory. But it isn't simply just picking up the phone. It's more than that. Talk about it. Sure. Telemedicine, maybe back in the 1920s, you could say it was something as simple as picking up the phone. But it's something that's really evolved. And now we have things like, um, audiovisual HD TV together with, you know, stethoscopes and other types of tools that allow us to monitor how patients are doing. Telemedicine can also be something like a -- a neurologist or a psychiatrist actually consulting with a clinician who is face-to-face with the patient just to provide another perspective. So it can be used in so many different instances. Let's talk about this. The department of health. You regulate. You do a lot of different things. But the question becomes, what is the role of the state department of health in dealing with the question of telemedicine and the relationship, if you will, between physicians, other health care clinicians and patients? What is the role of government/the department of health in all this..."