Texas Expanding Telemedicine Use for Inmates


Story by Brian Heaton

Telemedicine has expanded over the last decade thanks to technology improvements and the implementation of electronic medical records. But while widespread adoption of virtual doctor visits will still take time, the practice has flourished in Texas as an option to reduce the health-care costs of inmates.

A partnership among the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Texas Tech University and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has led to $780 million in savings for the department from 1994 through 2008, according to the Dallas Morning News. About 110,000 telemedicine consultations are conducted each year for inmates.

Dr. Owen Murray, vice president of offender health services at the UTMB, expects that number to increase in the years to come. In an interview with Government Technology, Murray noted that the number of telemedicine visits for prisoners has risen by 8 to 10 percent annually.

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