United invests in remote medical equipment

Providence, R.I. – Doctors may be examining Rhode Island patients over the Internet in the near future.

United Health Care is investing in equipment that allows specialists to examine wounds, perform ultrasounds and offer other services remotely. Spokesperson Debora Spano says even in a state the size of Rhode Island, some patients have trouble reaching their doctors in person.

"Because we don't like to travel," Spano says. "I mean seriously, so many people will not leave the outskirts and travel in to find the right specialists to give them the best care and then there are many people who are home bound who could use this, so they could stay in their home instead of moving to a nursing home."

The technology would cost from as little as $5,000 to as much as $100,000 depending on the equipment. United says no one in Rhode Island is participating in remote exams yet.