HARRISBURG, Pa., April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy and Penn State Hershey Stroke Center Co-Director Dr. Ray Reichwein recognized National Public Health Week by demonstrating a simulated telehealth appointment in the Capitol.
"Public health is all about what we do together as a society to ensure that everyone – regardless of where they live – has access to quality health care," Secretary Murphy said. "Telehealth is a program on the frontier of innovation that can bring desperately needed access to care to the more than 3.5 million Pennsylvanians living in rural areas. It's fitting that we demonstrate this innovative technology during Public Health Week."
Telehealth is defined as a collection of methods for enhancing health care, public health, and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies. Telehealth encompasses a broad variety of technologies to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services.
During the event, Dr. Reichwein used the Penn State Hershey Stroke Center's telemedicine technology to call a simulated patient and conduct a virtual check-up for post-stroke care. The check-up included several components that, until recently, were impossible without a physical office visit, such as reviewing a patient's brain scan.
Telehealth allows doctors to reach patients no matter where they live. This is especially important for specialists like Dr. Reichwein, who may be in limited supply in rural areas. Pennsylvania has the third-highest rural population in the United States, according to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Almost 50 percent of Pennsylvania's doctors practice in only three counties – Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Allegheny – even though the remaining 64 counties contain almost 75 percent of the commonwealth's population.
National Public Health Week 2017 is organized by the American Public Health Foundation with the goal of creating the healthiest nation in one generation. National Public Health Week celebrates the power of prevention, advocates for healthy and fair policies, shares strategies for successful partnerships, and champions the role of a strong public health system.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health