Can Florida ensure tech advancements better connect patients and health providers?
Florida TaxWatch health panel. Image via Florida TaxWatch.

FTW Annual Mtg._Health Care Panel_Alfonso, Keiser, Mica, Brodeur
Jason Brodeur said the Legislature must take a multi-pronged approach to health care this year.

Technology could make health care more effective and cheaper. But what policy decisions do Florida lawmakers need to make to ensure evolutions in medical care help consumers?

Sen. Jason Brodeur said the Legislature needs to take a multi-pronged approach to health care policy this year.

“We have to continue to embrace the telemedicine that we saw was so successful during COVID,” he told Florida Politics. “I think a lot of the pushback we’d had prior to that was because we didn’t know better. Well, COVID forced us to start using this and nothing bad happened. So let’s continue to expand that.

“The second thing we need to do is continue to commit to infrastructure so that all these rural communities that may not have as much access, have high speed broadband so that they can access telemedicine so that they can access psychiatrists or other behavioral health professionals that will allow us to close that gap.”

Brodeur participated in a Florida TaxWatch panel on Thursday during which medical experts talked about the ways the medical practice continues to change.

Dr. Eduardo Alfonso, of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, spoke with members about how virtual reality technology allows him to teach surgical techniques to medical students around the globe.

He said the medical field continues to be bogged down by restrictions, and suggested lawmakers still had more to do with licensing issues.

“What we need to think about is easing up on scope of practice a little bit because we sometimes have the doctor do so many things that other people could do,” he said.

The panel also discussed how communications technology can better connect patients with care in ways convenient to all. Lee Health Vice President of Government Relations Michael Nachef moderated the panel and said the most important discussions for health care systems involved advances in apps to communicate with patients on smartphones. Technology is on the verge of automatically reaching out to patients based on their geographic location to inform them about open appointment times.

But panelists also talked about the need for human resources. Dr. Robert Keiser, of Keiser University, said it was important at his institution to have instructors who work in hospitals and are aware of the most advanced tech. He also said Florida has done a good job of making a clear pipeline from medical students educated here into Florida medical institutions.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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