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Telemedicine: Virtual care

Telemedicine: Virtual care

Members contributing to telemedicine, test its capabilities at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, July 8, 2019. Telemedicine opens opportunities by allowing patients to communicate with providers within or across the state line to ensure those needing specialty care can receive it thanks to the DHA (Defense health agency). (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dillon J. Audit)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

Telemedicine, bringing doctors and specialty care to a screen near you.

With a new concept called telemedicine, a virtual care system, the 5th Medical Group can now help Team Minot members from far away.

“When I came here, I saw that we were lacking specialty care,” said Maj. Jennifer Pippin, 5th MDG chief of medical staff. “Our patients had to travel two hours to Bismarck or five hours to Fargo just to receive treatment.”

Telemedicine opens opportunities by allowing patients to communicate with providers within or across the state line to ensure those needing specialty care can receive it.

“We’ve been working on this for the past four or five months,”
said Pippin. “Our first test run was on August 5th and our first group of patients on the 12th.”

Telemedicine will also combat long road trips to providers which take Airmen out of the workplace for an entire duty day.

In the past, this lack of care affected the Team Minot mission by increasing patient travel funds, deployment curtailments and an increase in absence for duty.

These effects could prevent families from moving to Minot, however with telemedicine, the 5th MDG would be able to service their needs.

In the future, the 5th MDG plans on adding services such as mental health, neurology and immunizations to telemedicine.

“It wasn't until I got here that I realized what the need was, and I became very passionate about it,” said Pippin. “I knew it was going to help our patients, and they would still receive quality health care.”

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