Atlanta, GA, June 08, 2020 --(PR.com
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown Americans are now taking advantage of telemedicine, an advanced form of medical care that was once a luxury commonly afforded to the most unlikely members of society – the U.S. prison population.
Because of the virus pandemic - telemedicine - a term broadly used to describe any method of remotely accessing medical care, including over the phone, through email, or via video chat - has gone from a science fiction proposition to an increasingly ordinary part of general health care in little more than three months.
“Telemedicine flourished in correctional institutions out of necessity,” says Albert Woodard, CEO of Atlanta-based KaZee, Inc., a company that helped build the world’s largest telemedicine system and has been devoted to providing telemedicine systems for correctional institutions since 2002.
“The three major factors that led to the development of telemedicine for correctional institutions, were fast access to medical care, the cost of guarding and transporting prisoners to clinics or hospitals, and the safety of care givers and prison officials,” explains Woodard.
“Telemedicine plays an important role in enabling healthcare workers to quickly identify symptoms, aid patients, and lower costs,” says Woodard. “The severity and suddenness of the COVID-19 situation hastened changes to how care is delivered and ushered in a fast transition to telemedicine outside of prison walls.”
KaZee works with correctional institutions across the country, most recently winning a $27 million contract with The Illinois Department of Corrections (IODC) and its Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) programs to assist with the implementation and support of a state-wide electronic system to automate the process of managing patient healthcare charts and records and supporting it in the delivery of cost-effective quality medical, dental, mental health, pharmacy, and other specialty care. The system it implemented for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice saved it nearly $1 billion over the past 10 years with cost per day, per inmate, reduced from about $19 to $9.67.
Woodard explains that telemedicine enables institutions to lower the costs of transportation by enabling the prisoners to be treated where they are, eliminating the need for guards to accompany them, thus reducing the spread of the virus and the cost of security. “Telemedicine increases efficiencies too because the presence of an electronic medical record provides the treating physician with the appropriate data at the point of care, thus enhancing the quality of care,” he says.
Electronic records enable physicians to quickly review pertinent information from anywhere. “The merging of all this information into one data base enables faster response times for treatment, more accurate documentation, reduced medication errors and lower costs,” says Woodard.
During the pandemic Woodard said it became obvious that telemedicine’s benefits can extend from the prison cell block to the suburban or urban city block with its promise of both humanitarian benefits and cost savings.
“While prisons aren’t known for being on the cutting edge of technology, the harsh realities of prison health care - where many inmates have complicated medical needs and getting access to an offsite doctor can be a lengthy and even traumatic process - have acted as a catalyst for health care practitioners to get creative about how people can access much-needed care,” Woodard says.
There are almost 1.5 million people in state and federal prisons throughout the United States and each one of them according to the U.S. Supreme Court has a constitutional right to health care, thus prompting the use of telemedicine in the prison system.
“Just like e-mail, Facebook, messaging, and ATM’s, where our information follows us around the globe, the medical sector is realizing that those same mobile and cloud-based technologies can help provide superior care at lower costs and the prison system was one of the first to pick up on it,” says Woodard.
Woodard predicts that the healthcare industry will probably never return to the old visit-the-office type procedures. “It’s safe to say that virus pandemic has accelerated the move of telemedicine out of the correctional facilities and pushed the healthcare industry into a new frontier and there’s no going back,” he says.
About KaZee, Inc.
KaZee, Inc., is a leading provider of high-quality information technology (IT) products and services to the healthcare industry. Within the healthcare industry, KaZee serves ambulatory and outpatient clinics, multispecialty physician practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), county health departments, and currently focuses on correctional health facilities such as state, county, and local jails, prisons, and youth detention centers. KaZee supports customers within 40 states across the country. For more information about KaZee, go to www.KaZee.us