Telemedicine grows

Portland hospitals are on the cutting-edge of telemedicine because of lower costs, improved technology and widespread Internet connections.

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All major hospital systems in Portland are now extending telemedicine connections across Oregon.

Lower costs, improved technology, widespread Internet connections and reimbursement mandated by lawmakers allow Portland hospitals to reach underserved communities.

Duty to underserved communities isn’t the only motivation. Medical centers stand to benefit financially when telemedicine networks funnel patients to Portland for surgery and other procedures that generate the majority of hospitals’ income.

Stroke care has gained the most attention because treatments that can prevent permanent disability or death are virtually unavailable outside big cities. Small hospitals lack the resources to keep stroke specialists on call around the clock. Telemedicine makes it feasible.