From the University of Virginia:
Telemedicine – the ability to receive health care and counsel through a live, virtual medium – has been the saving grace of patients and hospitals during the global pandemic. At UVA Health alone, virtual visits rose more than 700% between March and May.
But while telemedicine works for many Americans, for others – especially those who live in rural regions that lack fixed broadband – it’s a fiction. Unless, that is, they can get themselves to their local library.
University of Virginia associate professor of nursing Pamela DeGuzman says that libraries may provide the key for rural patients’ ability to access to telehealth. According to an analysis just published in the Public Health Nursing, DeGuzman found that the vast majority of Virginia libraries had the four components necessary for telemedicine to work well: fixed broadband, computers, technologically savvy staff and private spaces where telehealth visits could take place. Once the state’s physical distancing requirements loosen, DeGuzman asserts, clinicians and librarians must partner to ensure that rural patients, too, can tap this important modality of care for mental and physical health needs.
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Direct to Research Article Abstract: “Evaluation of Rural Public Libraries to Address Telemedicine Inequities”