Telehealth is a process of healthcare where a remote patient can use computer applications, telephone or computer audio, or video conferencing technology for healthcare assistance.
Representative Jake Johnson references retirees, COVID, and telehealth in the video snippet below.
How will telehealth and broadband integrate into our Western North Carolina future?
The WNC Broadband Project (Project) aims to support communities interested in ensuring access to reliable, truly high-speed internet service. It develops tools to empower individuals, communities, and area leaders in advocating effectively for their digital needs. As a community-supported initiative building on the work of West Next Generation Network (WestNGN), it is not owned or controlled by any affiliate of WestNGN. The WNC Broadband Project is also not financed by any corporate entity, as such financing would be inconsistent with the Project’s independent community engagement focus. The views, opinions and products of the WNC Broadband Project are the sole responsibility of the Project team and its advisory board, acting in their personal capacity and not in any capacity related to WestNGN, UNC Asheville, or any other WestNGN affiliate.
Referencing several Western North Carolina counties, broadband adoption is corelated to health disparities.
A disproportionate number of individuals in the study area live without access to basic health care services and access to specialists, such as cardiologists, because of distance and limited provider availability.
Health care access is improved in areas where broadband and telehealth services exist.
Patients are more aware of their conditions and equipped with self-management techniques to seek medical care when concerns arise.
What is the state of healthcare and broadband access in Western North Carolina?
Only 3 of the 20 WNC counties were rated as having high broadband adoption rates or the percentage of the population (or households) that subscribes to broadband service.
The 5 main barriers to broadband adoption according to NCBroadband.gov are:
1) Unavailability of broadband 2) Cost and affordability of service 3) Cost of computers, laptops and other devices 4) Digital literacy or lack thereof 5) The internet’s perceived relevancy in a person’s daily life