Broadband boosts telehealth access for rural America
More than 300,000 residents live in one of the 20 rural Tennessee counties without a hospital, but the services our members provide can bring vital health care services directly to their homes.
Thursday, Nov. 19, is National Rural Health Day, a day designated by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health to showcase rural America, increase awareness of rural health-related challenges and promote the efforts to address these challenges.
The Tennessee Broadband Association is working to improve access to care through its Tennessee Rural Telehealth Initiative, which raises awareness about the benefits of telehealth services.
TNBA Executive Director Levoy Knowles says the ongoing health pandemic underscores the need for telehealth in rural Tennessee.
“Broadband is an essential part of rural health,” Knowles says. “Telehealth access through a broadband connection is a way to connect those we serve in rural Tennessee with the vital health care services they need.”
According to the National Rural Health Day organization, more than 57 million Americans live in rural areas, and many of those areas do not have adequate health care facilities.
Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH chief executive officer, says rural communities face unique health care challenges. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of health care providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions and larger percentages of un- and under-insured citizens,” he says. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that make it challenging to serve their residents.”
Broadband enables rural Tennesseans to connect directly to a quality health care provider from the comfort of their home. Without it, many go without the care they need.
“Access to a reliable broadband connection is essential to those living in rural Tennessee,” Knowles says. “It can mean the difference between receiving the services residents need conveniently in their home and traveling many miles for doctor appointments.”
A number of live events, many of them virtual, will be held to celebrate National Rural Health Day. For more information, visit www.powerofrural.org.