Telemedicine Helps Rural SLPs Diagnose Dysphagia

In a 2006 ASHA Leader article, Kristy Potter, a speech-language pathologist in rural Kansas, asserts that telemedicine technology has helped her complete numerous videoswallow evaluations and provide more comprehensive care for her patients. She admits that prior to using telemedicine, she was not confident in diagnosing patients for dysphagia. She was often the only SLP in the facilities that she worked at; moreover, many rural facilities lacked the equipment and the support staff to perform videoswallows. When the University of Kansas Medical Center adopted telemedicine technology, Potter benefitted from being able to consult with SLPs at the urban medical center. With the telemedicine equipment, the SLPs at the urban site saw images as effectively as if they were seeing it on a fluoroscope in person. Potter explains, “The benefits of telepractice for videoswallow evaluations are many and far-reaching: it provides rural, underserved areas with access to an academic medical center and both patient and provider benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a host of specialized medical professionals.”

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