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Telehealth and community broadband, in sickness and in health

By December 14, 2021No Comments

Source:  Healthcare IT News

By Craig Settles

Delivering virtual care via community broadband offers big financial and quality-of-life benefits, says our contributing writer, opening avenues to both digital equity and health equity.

Telehealth and community broadband are symbiotic technologies.

Much more than mere video chats, telehealth uses intranets and the internet networks to observe, diagnose, initiate or otherwise medically intervene, administer, monitor, record, and/or report on the continuum of care people receive when ill, injured or wanting to stay well. We can save so much money and time that’s going into healthcare if we take full advantage of the telehealth and telemedicine tools. Public health, in particular, can leverage telehealth to great advantage.

Community broadband, meanwhile, refers to networks owned by towns, cities and counties, local telephone and electrical co-ops, wireless internet service providers (WISPs) and other local ISPs, and public-private partnerships often initiated by municipalities or counties.

But big companies often have high prices, suboptimal service and weak infrastructure, so communities nationwide are building their own. These networks profit the people they serve.

Telehealth united with community broadband has huge financial and quality-of-life benefits. These technologies also open avenues to digital equity and health equity among underserved communities in towns, cities and counties.

Don’t forget, though, that it’s quite difficult to have telehealth without broadband.

Strategically speaking

Let’s break down telehealth into three categories and consider as an example public libraries that decide to offer telehealth in some of their branches.

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