May 15, 2018
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, MD, signed the Kansas Telemedicine Act into law on Saturday, May 12, while at The University of Kansas Hospital. The act makes Kansas a national leader in the delivery of modern healthcare through the use of emerging technology, which improves access to healthcare for all Kansans – regardless of whether they reside in a rural or urban location.
During the ceremony, Tom Bell, President and CEO of Kansas Hospital Association, reflected on the importance of the passage of this act.
"Every Kansan deserves access to quality healthcare," he said. This is essential to maintain thriving Kansas communities. The Kansas Telemedicine Act is one way to ensure all Kansas communities have the best possible access to health services."
Telemedicine works by using a real-time, two-way interactive audio, visual or audio-visual uplink, which gives doctors the ability to speak with their patients no matter the distance. During the announcement, Governor Colyer shared an example of telemedicine that is currently being used in the state: Dr. Richard Barohn, neurologist at The University of Kansas Health System, uses telemedicine to care for patients with ALS. By using a robotic device called "Robot Ric," he is able to treat patients who live more than 200 miles away in Wichita. During the visit, the patient and Dr. Barohn can see and hear each other, which allows questions to be asked and answered immediately during the virtual visit. This is an especially convenient tool for follow-up visits as it relieves the patient from the burden of time and travel.
With the passing of this act, telemedicine services can also be used for visits with speech-language pathologists and audiologists – two areas in which this form of care wasn't previously available.