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Authors

  1. Meyers, Laura BS
  2. Gibbs, Dale BS
  3. Thacker, Max
  4. LaFile, Lesley MPA

Abstract

With the recent governmental focus on increasing broadband capabilities throughout the nation, with rapid advances in technology, and with other regulatory and reimbursement barriers falling, a great number of sites across the United States are in the process of either initiating or expanding their Telehealth capabilities. The Nebraska Statewide Telehealth Network, one of the most comprehensive networks in the nation, is no exception. Built through a collaborative effort of hospitals, health departments, the Nebraska Hospital Association, and other organizations, the Network's members include nearly every hospital and health department in the State. The Nebraska Statewide Telehealth Network has been awarded more than $1.4 million in grant funding since 2008 and, last year, provided 3633 clinical consultations to rural residents across the State.

 

Among its many benefits, Telehealth increases access to specialty care for patients in rural areas; decreases travel time and saves money for patients and caretakers alike; provides the potential for earlier disease intervention; enhances clinical support between specialists and primary care providers; and serves as a medium for easy access to professional education, training, and collaboration. And, now, this technology is becoming increasingly mobile, allowing practitioners the opportunity to connect anywhere. In a rural state dominated by Health Care Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas, Telehealth has the opportunity to help patients receive care at home.