"Amanda Shelley was sitting in her dentist’s waiting room when she received a call from the police. A local teenage girl had been sexually assaulted and needed an exam.
Shelley, a nurse in rural Eagle County, Colorado, went to her car and called a telehealth company to arrange an appointment with a sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE. The nurse examiners have extensive training in how to care for assault survivors and collect evidence for possible criminal prosecution.
The remote nurse used the video technology to speak with the patient and guide Shelley through each step of a two-hour exam. One of those steps was a colposcopy, in which Shelley used a magnifying device to closely examine the vagina and cervix. The remote nurse saw, in real time, what Shelley could see, with the help of a video camera attached to the machine.
The service, known as 'teleSANE,' is new at Shelley’s hospital. Before, sexual assault patients faced mountains of obstacles — literally — when they had to travel to a hospital in another county for care.
'We’re asking them to drive maybe over snowy passes and then [be there] three to four hours for this exam and then drive back home — it’s disheartening for them,' Shelley said. 'They want to start the healing process and go home and shower.'
To avoid this scenario, teleSANE services are expanding across the country in rural, sparsely populated areas. Research shows SANE programs encourage psychological healing, provide comprehensive health care, allow for professional evidence collection and improve the chance of a successful prosecution."