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Video helps care for criminals and keep citizens safe


February 25, 2010 - 0 Comments

In previous posts on the TANDBERG Public Sector blog we’ve discussed how video teleconferencing (VTC) can be used to keep citizens safe, reduce transportations costs and speed time to trial by allowing offenders to appear in court via video.

Another area where VTC plays an important role should not be ignored either – prisoner healthcare. For everything from flu outbreaks to infectious diseases all the way to dental services, mental health and psychiatric treatments, telemedicine has proven to be not only a cost saver, but a more effective way of delivering care with the least security risk to everyone involved.

In the past, doctors and specialists would have to physically go into the prison to administer care, or prisoners would have to be transported to hospitals. Similar to relocating prisoners for court appearances, this process is expensive and requires exposing citizens to possible harm.

Utilizing VTC equipment, specialists can be delivered directly to the prison with no travel required. This not only decreases the cost of administering care, but ensures that it can be delivered quickly and efficiently – the prisoner gets timely care, the doctor can see more patients, and safety is maintained.

A great example of VTC being used for telemedicine in prisons can be seen in the State of California, which recently released a report detailing ways they were improving the delivery of care to prisons. According to the report, entitled Achieving a Constitutional Level of Medical Care In California’s Prisons, California conducts 16,000 telemedicine visits with prisoners each year. This year alone, $13 million was saved utilizing telemedicine to treat patients.

In fact, California’s foray into telemedicine in prisons has been so successful that the state has begun to implement additional telemedicine specialties, according to the report. Also, six separate correctional institutions are looking to improve and expand their telemedicine services, including the North Kern State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, Centinela State Prison, California State Prison at Corcoran and the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility.

By delivering doctors and specialists to prisons via video, states can ensure that prisoners get the care they need without spending significant budget dollars and putting citizens in danger. TANDBERG solutions have played a large role in the adoption of telemedicine in prisons and is proud to be leading this new way of caring.

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