Approximately a year ago or so, there was a good bit of anxiety on the Mid-Shore about the plans of the region’s two major hospitals in Chestertown and Easton. In Chestertown, there was a growing fear that UM Regional Shore Health would eventually eliminate the existing hospital and replace it with an urgent/emergency care center. While in Easton there were increased concerns that Shore Health would abandon its plans for a new hospital.
Those community apprehensions turned out to be fortunately unfounded thanks to a combination of the politicians interceding to create a state study group on rural hospitals and a more stable economic climate which allowed for the advancement of a new hospital near the Easton Airport.
But one of the major takeaways of these two episodes was how profoundly attached communities are with their local hospitals. For a variety of reasons, including interest in patient comfort, proximity, and in some cases, mere nostalgia, residents were determined to fight to keep their local facilities alive and functioning.
The other takeaway, perhaps not as well noticed by many, was the increasing awareness that through advanced technology and efficiency, there is an emerging radically new way to provide health care in the 21st-century and is the growth of telemedicine.
The Spy, which has had an ongoing curiosity about the use of technology and how it may impact rural health delivery, was lucky enough to secure an interview with Marc Zubrow, the medical director in charge of telemedicine for the entire University of Maryland Medical System. And in our interview, Dr. Zubrow makes a compelling case why this use of remote medical consultation will be dramatically improving patient care and outcomes regardless of location.
This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about UMMS and telemedicine please go here