The Importance of Telehealth

Interview with Jacob Murcock, Chapter Executive Director, Nevada

It was a pleasure for the foundation to sit down with Jacob to learn more about the importance of telehealth. To learn more view the video below along with a readable transcript of the video. 

The Importance of Telehealth

Watch Jacob’s Video here.

Transportation, Travel & Telehealth

My name is Jacob Murdoch, and I’m the chapter executive director of the Nevada chapter of the National Bleeding Disorders Foundation. That is by landmass. I believe we are the sixth-largest state in the country. Much of the state is uninhabited or has small towns throughout it. So we have individuals with bleeding disorders that live all across the state, but we only have two major urban population centers and a couple of smaller population centers people will be thinking oh, it’s not that far from Las Vegas to Reno, which Reno is the 2nd largest city. It takes about seven hours to drive to Reno. It’s about an hour-long flight, anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. You know, plus hours away, even from a regional hospital that telehealth is incredibly important because there’s no way that some folks would be able to even, you know, have a face-to-face with a doctor or other medical professional, in person.

Because transportation would just be impossible, and if there’s an emergent, you know, an urgent situation, so let’s say not an emergency, but an urgent situation, you know, it may be difficult to even get in the car and go a couple of hours. The telehealth has been used for, you know, at least the last 10 years, and so it, even though we primarily think of telehealth as coming to the forefront during the COVID pandemic, it is the technology that’s been used.

The History of Telehealth

Before that. So particularly, telehealth systems are set up with patient privacy in mind. So it’s one of those things that we as patients shouldn’t be concerned with because most of the telehealth systems are set up with HIPAA protocols. Our information is not getting out there. It may seem different and weird because we’re not in the same room as our doctor, but our doctor and medical professionals are taking our privacy, with the utmost, concern. So I think there’s a, you know, there’s a lot of great, you know, resources I know on our, you know, medical providers, websites, also our behavioral and mental health provider websites.

Telehealth Resources

They almost always have a telehealth tab, so you can just read about how they do it. Sometimes they do it via Zoom, sometimes they do it via other platforms that are specifically created for telehealth. And I think it’s just important for, you know, the patient to see, okay, telehealth services are available.

Maybe I need to download something, a different app, or have a specific, you know, type of technology available. And that would be important to know. And then one of the things that I found, and our library system in Las Vegas uses it, and I’ve noticed a lot of other ones do, they will rent out, mobile hotspots, so say you don’t have high-speed Wi-Fi internet at your house.

Your local library may be able to give you, or, you know, you can rent essentially free mobile Wi-Fi and use that at your home. The cool things that happened in Nevada, and it was partially because of advocacy, and we weren’t specifically involved with this. But advocacy from other patient groups is that we had a bill passed this last year in our legislature, that would continue telehealth access by requiring third-party insurers to cover telehealth at the same rates as in-person care.

Accessing Telehealth

And so that’s a critical advocacy piece that if, you know if you’re worried about the costs of telehealth, you know, there’s already. You know, there are already places that are making sure that, you know, putting into law that the costs are going to be the same as in-person care. And for Nevada, that was huge because we are such a big state that having the same price for telehealth services as in-person makes it a much more equitable, and manageable process.

Source: National Bleeding Disorders Foundation, October 2023

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