NYC Health + Hospitals offers telehealth for women at Rikers' prison

NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst teamed up in February to debut a telehealth program for female patients at the Rikers Island (N.Y.) prison.

The new services are an expansion of those available at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue for male inmates at Rikers.

When female inmates need specialty care, they are taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, but because transporting patients from Rikers to the hospital presents several security challenges, a trip can take hours. To avoid major disruptions to their days, some patients refuse appointments. However, telehealth will enable them to receive care without leaving the prison.

"This is an invaluable project, and I think it's a great idea for medicine," said Joseph Lieber, MD, a diagnostician and clinical educator at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst who has been working on the telehealth launch. "The women from Rikers we see are a smaller population than the men from Rikers, who go to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, but the population is not small in need. These women have a lot of medical issues, and it's to everyone's advantage — the patients, the doctors and the jail — to use telehealth because patients can get a good medical visit more quickly and easily. This technology helps ensure patients can get their ongoing care."

The telehealth services include rheumatology, oncology and hematology services. Other specialties, such as infectious disease and gastroenterology, will be added later.

More articles on telehealth:  
VA rolls out telehealth program to address PTSD in veterans
Frost & Sullivan: Why 'femtech' will disrupt the healthcare market
Ophthalmologists use telemedicine to diagnose blindness in premature infants

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