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Increased Broadband Access Brings Greater Telehealth Access

By Joseph Petrie

This last year, healthcare providers have turned to telehealth as a solution to reach patients for healthcare needs. Sadly, telehealth isn’t much of a solution to rural communities lacking access to broadband internet. The need for immediate action is evident, particularly as rural Idaho becomes increasingly reliant on internet-based technologies.

When communities don’t have broadband access, local healthcare providers are at a disadvantage.  That’s why rural Idaho needs an enhanced broadband infrastructure.  Happily, fiber-optics provide the answer.

Fiber-optics use small glass fibers that transmit data using pulses of light.  Because these cables are typically buried in the ground, this helps to preserve the beauty of our great state.  More importantly, by implementing broadband internet in this manner, Idaho will be less reliant on technologies that use electromagnetic radiation.  As a medical provider, I can tell you that’s a good thing.

To help rural Idaho, a group of community leaders have joined together in an effort called Imagine Idaho. The coalition is committed to serving rural Idaho by promoting state policy favoring communities needing broadband and securing significant federal funding to deploy broadband communications infrastructure in a pro-competitive way.

Idaho’s rural internet divide is real and when telehealth has been offered as a way to improve access to healthcare, it can only work if healthcare providers and patients have access to a reliable broadband internet connection. The opportunity to have access not only to healthcare, but to live, learn and work anywhere should be available to all in the Gem State.  Increasing broadband access to rural areas will help improve the quality of life of all Idahoans.

Joseph W. Petrie, PAC
President, Gem Express Care