For the past two years, paramedics in the Houston Fire Department have been using telehealth and electronic health record technology to remotely consult with physicians via iPads when responding to calls to patient homes.

Many times, paramedics respond but find they’re not facing an urgent emergency, but the patient may still be best served by being transported to the emergency department. Or perhaps the best route would be to pay the taxi bill to send the patient to a community health center where they can establish a medical home.

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