Integrated Services Program: Facilitating telehealth through the loan or lending of cellular technology and tablets
Setting: Rural Urban
Topic Area: Health Equity, Telehealth,
NPMs: NPM 11: Medical Home
The Utah Bureau of Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) purchased 30 laptops and mobile hotspots to allow for increased access to telehealth services in rural, urban, and underserved communities throughout Utah. CSHCN created a “lending library” of the devices through the Integrated Services Program to be available to families who would benefit from telehealth visits. The lending libraries are located at various agencies throughout the State of Utah, which include trained professionals with backgrounds in medicine, nursing, social work, care coordination, family peer support, audiology, physical and occupational therapies, and speech/language pathology. These devices were distributed to 4 local health departments (LHDs) in extremely rural areas of Utah. The lending libraries are marketed through the hospital systems, Utah Parent Center/F2FHIC, Help Me Grow Utah, state and local health departments, and local primary care providers. Families are able to connect with primary and specialty care, EI, and care coordination to facilitate connection with services and medical providers. Care coordinators and F2FHIC worked with families to connect with telehealth providers and provide additional telehealth education and support. The lending library aids families who have limited time off of work or who would have had to travel incredibly long distances to get an assessment and receive care at a time of the day or day of the week that works for them. This means parents don’t have to miss work, or as much of their work day; and children don’t have to miss school for the evaluative and diagnostic services offered. Our care coordinators work with families to find times that are best for them, then coordinate with our providers to schedule the appointment. Families save money in travel, and air quality is increased with less driving. An additional benefit when evaluating and diagnosing development delay is that with telehealth, the child is often in his/her natural environment, not a medical provider’s office filled with foreign object and strangers. This is a literal example of meeting the family where they are to best fulfill the needs of the family and patient.
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