A new addition to the inmate communications and health industry that could result in even lower inmate health care cost. On average, most prisons spend over $50 million dollars yearly toward the cost of health care. These funds could be used to help improve the quality of the inmates life, and to provide courses and tools that will help them adapt to living in the prison for those staying long term, and how to reestablish life on the outside, for those lucky enough to have a release date.
Typically, the prison medical staff is not equipped to handle major medical issues. When the staff is unable to help an inmate, they are required to transport them to the nearest medical facility. This transfer causes concern most state facilities, and inmates are commonly put on lockdown until the other guards return in an effort to prevent any mishaps. When inmates are transported out of the prison, two guards are required to accompany them. This is done in an effort to protect the driver and reduce the risk of the inmate escaping. The loss of staff increases the risk of inmate altercations and chaos.
In an effort to help reduce the number of inmate trips to the hospital, the Medical University of South Carolina has contracted with the Department of Corrections to bring a new innovative health care solution to inmates and prisons. The university will provide medical and health services via telehealth conferences. If a medical emergency occurs outside of normal business hours, there is typically no doctor on staff to assist them, prompting a transfer to the nearest hospital. Now MUSC will act as the emergency care center. Prison staff can request a response from one of the physicians on call. Once a physician is available, they connect with the prison via video conference. Any test the doctor request can be performed at the facility and sent to a lab, where the doctor can then access and review the results.
This new innovative form of inmate health care will help reduce the rate of inmate hospital trips as well as the cost of transportation. Inmates will typically be able to receive help faster, since there is no need to commute. The decision to merge technology with health care for the betterment pf inmates and facilities will change the future of inmate health care for prisons all over.