Telehealth At the Library? You Bet!

Libraries may be on the brink of a great mobilization to narrow the digital divide. The needs are there, and money is certainly available. If given creative reign with telehealth, great things can come from even the smallest of libraries in these areas:

  • Real-time telehealth are activities happening “right here and now,” often involving medical or healthcare professionals. In a library setting, a patron is video chatting with a doctor from study rooms and telehealth kiosks, or a traveling nurse sets up in a room to do hypertension screening with patrons and video conferencing with a doctor in another location if patrons have questions.

  • Store-and-forward telehealth is collecting medical data and sending it electronically to another site for later evaluation. Patrons who don’t want to go over their smartphones’ data cap might use a library’s Wi-Fi to send medical records, MRI digital images, or photos of surgical wounds. For maximum privacy and security, telehealth applications receive and send using HIPAA-compliant software.

  • “Passive” telehealth refers to educational web content, digital knowledgebases, and software applications that help us understand, prevent, treat, or recover from threats to our physical and mental health. Few entities are as competent as libraries at making knowledge easy to find, sort through, and act upon.

[Craig Settles, saved from a stroke by telehealth, pays it forward by uniting community broadband teams and healthcare stakeholders through telehealth initiatives.]

Telehealth At the Library? You Bet!