Veterans Day: Bridging the Last Mile of Telehealth for Rural America
In honor of Veterans Day, we are putting the spotlight on telehealth and particularly how to deliver telehealth across rural America. As many of our readers know, Iron Bow Technologies has been on the road this past year with our Telehealth Education Delivered (TED, #TED2GO) vehicle, to showcase telehealth solutions that ensure the highest of healthcare delivery to vets.
But despite the overall education and buzz about telehealth, it is lagging in the areas of Internet access and broadband speed Internet access, both of which are critical to bridging the last mile in telehealth for rural America.
Recently, we spoke with Iron Bow Technologies’ Dan Klanderman, director telehealthcare solutions, about innovations in telehealth and bridging that last mile.
Klanderman shared that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as groups like the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) are putting a spotlight on the topic and working hard to develop more broadband capability in rural areas by offering funding through grants, exploring how to get broadband providers to invest in these areas and measuring progress.
While that buildout is necessary for telehealth and many other types of online opportunities that as many as 55 million Americans who don’t have access to broadband speeds are missing out on, Klanderman reminded us that some telehealth solutions don’t need broadband support. For example, “store and forward” monitoring of blood pressure or blood sugar can be done without it.
He also mentioned that many areas do not have always-on connectivity, but smartphones, telehealth providers and mobile providers are creating apps and innovative telehealth support through mobile devices. By multiplexing streams of 4G/LTE, they can create a significant pipe with the devices that are already in the home and have built in connectivity.