Bringing Broadband to Rural America

Juvo Technologies Standard

As with most things today, technology is forever changing. Within healthcare, technology now provides endless opportunities across all functional areas of medicine. Like Leigh Anne Chandler mentions in FierceIT’s article cited below, technology has outpaced policy, and ALWAYS WILL. A good example of this are the HIPAA regulations that seek to keep health records private, but have not even taken into account new trends such as Mobile Device Management. Telehealth and telemedicine are poised for implementation and deployment across the US. However, due to lack of broadband connectivity and funding within rural areas, these advances may never surface in some facilities. Fortunately, some of these technological advances can be deployed and implemented with assistance from federal funding, allowing these facilities to deliver the same quality of healthcare as their urban counterparts.

Aside from issues relating to funding, healthcare professionals should be trained in a way that allows them to utilize these advances. Telehealth has proven to be efficient and effective in practical implications as well as quality improvement. Already on the right path, the University of Alabama, requires extensive telehealth training for students in its nursing program. The program covers everything from equipment identification to lighting for the monitor setup. Although lighting may seem rather insignificant, it can be crucial when it comes time for a surgical team to make a proper incision while conducting a remote operation. As mentioned earlier, technology will always outpace policy, but organizations must make every attempt to train for, and implement these advances in a way that provides consistently better outcomes for their patients. While it might be impossible to keep up with all changes in IT, the perception of a level playing field is key. If federal funding is applied, many rural areas can keep up, and therefore function just like the facility right smack in the middle of the city.

As we know, many rural health care facilities are struggling to operate as a typical, urban facility does. Technological advances in larger, urban facilities are facilitating better patient outcomes, so what about those that are just a little further out? Having the capability to implement programs like telemedicine in these rural facilities can help deliver a better quality of healthcare to patients, so deployment and implementation of these practices should be a no brainer, especially when federal programs already exist to help cover the costs involved

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