That’s the promise of telehealth, telemedicine, telemonitoring or whatever “tele-” phrase you prefer. Here’s a good, commonsense idea for reporters: Think about the technology you see pretty much everywhere but the hospital or doctor’s office—on smartphones, in video game consoles and even at the self-service check-out at the grocery store that knows if you’ve bagged the item you just scanned. And start asking the health-care organizations you cover why they still rely on old-fashioned telephones and fax machines.

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Neil Versel is a Chicago-based freelance journalist and blogger specializing in health information technology.