Telemedicine – remote doctor visits, exams, and consultations with specialists arranged with neither the patient nor the physician traveling – is about to get a boost from changes in the nation’s healthcare.

In addition to reducing costs of care for rural patients and others who cannot get to the healthcare they need, telemedicine technologies have come of age. Originally developed for manned space flight, telemedicine uses modern video, audio, and telemetry (remote measurement) along with other rapidly developing technologies.

Mobile imaging and test equipment, even rooms designed for medical and dental procedures such as Mobile medical units from, can be located on site in the community for screenings and treatments, then moved to other communities as needed.

With even a part-time, remote medical presence in the community, other aspects of medical service will be able to better connect with providers and patients in the region. Pharmacies in particular may benefit from having care focused in the rural area.

Currently, 20 states have laws requiring private insurance coverage of telehealth services with 10 more states working on bipartisan teams to do the same. In Florida, doctors in the Florida Medical Association are pushing for legislation after a bill stalled in the legislature last year. The bill also aims to make Florida an innovator in what is widely recognized as an important trend which will play a major role in patient care throughout the country.