Libraries Are Ideal Telehealth Locations
Maine expands library telehealth program.
Earlier this year, Maine launched a telehealth program based out of 10 libraries in rural areas where residents may have issues with healthcare access.
The program, launched in April 2022, used $50,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to equip libraries with telemedicine technology and links to providers. Residents have since been able to use Maine State Library’s “Libraries Health Connect Program” for non-urgent services such as wellness visits, prescription requests, and specialist consultations.
Maine chose the libraries because of endemic community health issues and a persistent lack of access to healthcare providers and services. Because of the program’s success, officials are planning to expand the program by adding more libraries and more services provided.
“By facilitating telehealth appointments and routine screening for members of under-served communities, libraries can deliver healthcare to those in need.”
John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary
Several states have implemented similar programs using libraries as telehealth sites. The efforts attempt to equalize healthcare access for all state residents, mainly rural and underserved populations.
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Libraries are ideal telehealth locations, as they already serve as meeting places for the community and have access to the broadband needed to support telehealth technology.
Most libraries can easily accommodate telehealth programs by providing a small, private space with a laptop connected to appropriate medical devices.
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