South Carolina Works to Expand Broadband, Telehealth in Rural Areas

Curated Telehealth and Telemedicine Article It’s been well demonstrated that access to high-quality
telehealth maintenance is practically impossible, if it’s the patient is located in your home
or in a hospital, even without even access to high quality broadband Internet. And it has been equally well established that, while progress has been made when it comes
to the growth of U.S. broadband infrastructure, work remains to be carried out in
regard to getting people connected. Indeed, studies have demonstrated that over 30
million Americans still lack access to high-speed broadband Web, for example as many as 39% of people residing in rural locations. Now (as an article in
the Post
and Courier highlights), as the nation of South Carolina seeks to expand
telehealth services to rural inhabitants, investing both time and resources,
these broadband accessibility constraints are making their job harder. As
the Post
and Courier’s Mary Katherine Wildeman puts it,”Even as specialists expect for a future when everyone can get healthcare from their cellphones, those
without Internet might still be missing out.”
South Carolina is no stranger to telehealth. Since 2013, the
country has spent about $68 million on different telemedicine jobs; Wildeman
points to projects such as a telestroke application that puts”each resident…within an hour of linking to a stroke expert,” a prison
telemedicine schedule, and also a portable telemedicine van operated by Clemson
University. The technologies have also helped to connect patients with healthcare providers following natural disasters; for example, after Hurricane
Florence, telehealth businesses offered free consults to patients in the home. But progress in expanding telehealth’s reach has been hampered by the
broadband access constraints that lots in South Carolina nonetheless face. In 2017, as an instance, it was estimated that about 537,000 people in South Carolina lacked a decent Internet connection, whereas 78 percent of households in the state did
have both a computer and an online subscription.
Click here to read the Post and Courier article on telehealth and broadband accessibility struggles in South Carolina.

1 thing helping drive this disparityis that the simple fact that Internet
service companies lack the incentive to expand their solutions to rural towns with limited quantities of potential customers. Above all, while
there’s still work to be achieved, South Carolina has made strides when it comes to
expanding telehealth throughout the state. “We still run into issues where we
can not do that which we would like to perform,” Dr. Jimmy McElligott, medical director for the
Center for Telehealth at MUSC, told the Post and Courier. “But we are better off than we used to be.”

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