The Relationship Between Rural Internet Access and Healthcare in New York
The Relationship Between Rural Internet Access and Healthcare in New YorkAccess to healthcare is essential for everyone, but what happens when you live in a rural area without the internet? This article explores the relationship between rural internet access and healthcare in New York.
The Importance of Internet Access in Healthcare With the rise of telemedicine and online health resources, internet access has become increasingly important for individuals seeking healthcare. The internet allows patients to search for health information, communicate with healthcare providers, and even receive medical treatment from the comfort of their own homes. However, for those living in rural areas, internet access can be limited or non-existent. According to a 2019 report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 22% of rural Americans lack access to broadband internet, compared to just 1.5% of urban Americans.
The Impact of Limited Internet Access on Rural Healthcare Without reliable internet access, rural residents may face challenges in accessing healthcare services. For example, individuals may struggle to find healthcare providers in their area or may have difficulty scheduling appointments due to a lack of online booking systems. In addition, rural residents may have limited access to telemedicine services, which can be a major benefit for those who live far away from medical facilities. Telemedicine allows patients to receive medical care online, which can save time and money on travel expenses.
The State of Internet Access in Rural New York New York is a large state with a mix of urban and rural areas. According to a 2019 report by the New York State Broadband Program Office, 98% of New Yorkers have access to broadband internet, but that number drops to 85% for rural areas. This means that many rural residents in New York may still struggle to access vital healthcare services online. However, the report also notes that New York has made significant progress in expanding broadband access in recent years, with over 2.4 million homes and businesses gaining access to high-speed internet since 2015.
Efforts to Improve Rural Internet Access in New York Recognizing the importance of internet access for healthcare and other essential services, New York has launched several initiatives to expand broadband access in rural areas. One such initiative is the New NY Broadband Program, which aims to provide high-speed internet access to all of New York State by the end of 2021. The program has already invested over $1 billion in expanding broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. In addition, the New York State Department of Health has launched a telemedicine program that allows patients to connect with healthcare providers through videoconferencing. The program aims to improve access to healthcare in rural areas and reduce healthcare costs for patients.
Conclusion Access to healthcare is essential for everyone, regardless of where they live. In rural areas, limited internet access can make it difficult for residents to access vital healthcare services online. However, New York State is making strides in expanding broadband access in rural areas and launching telemedicine programs to improve access to healthcare. By prioritizing internet access and expanding telemedicine services, rural residents in New York can have better access to the healthcare they need.