Telemedicine for patients in rural Alaska

Patients across remote areas of Alaska are reportedly receiving visual appointments from health professionals through video conferencing technology. claims doctors and patients around rural areas of the US state have long experienced trouble trying to reach each other, as the vast landscape can separate the two parties by 75-100 miles.

Around 2,500 health care providers across Alaska are required to service municipalities and villages across over 660,000 square metres of terrain. Doctors have in the past been known to take a snowmobile out with them in order to reach certain patients, while in some instances an air ambulance is used to lift patients to the hospital.

After much consultation, the providers decided the best way to address the issue was to limit the amount of face-to-face appointments and instead try to promote the use of visual exams, conducted through video conferencing technology.

According to, the system used by practitioners around Alaska differs from conventional forms of the technology in that it allows them to access information regarding each patient as they conduct their check-up.

The real-time video communication system also lets them use electronic stethoscopes and other devices in order to thoroughly asses the condition of the patient there and then.

Doctors are already claiming to have seen a rise in follow-up calls with patients who book through the visual service, while the provider of the technology believes that medical practitioners can successfully reduce the rate of rehospitalisation by promoting its use.