Baltimore has secured $2 million in federal funding and the expansion of telehealth services and senior citizens being provided with internet access looks promising. Digital infrastructure is a huge topic concerning senior citizens. During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the condition of a senior citizen’s digital infrastructure was very important – was it sufficient or insufficient? People were trying to avoid contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) so they were staying home more and not visiting the doctor’s office and attending follow-up appointments. Video calls became more frequent in households as well as Telehealth visits. For example, NYU Langone, a medical center in New York City, reported that Telehealth visits totaled about 7,000 per day during the peak of the outbreak of COVID-19, compared to 300 per day before the outbreak. Although technology and “up-to-date tech savvy” medical providers were having their moment, many senior citizens did not get to participate in this moment in time. Many senior citizens do not have a tablet, smartphone, or a computer or sufficient WiFi. An article published by WMAR-2 News this year, stated that “43,000 households in Baltimore have no internet access at all.”
The mayor of Baltimore, Brandon Scott wants to fix the equity issue concerning internet access. Mayor Scott said that he intends to permanently close the digital divide concerning internet access by the end of this decade. The funding that has been acquired will be used for the senior citizens to extend fiber connectivity and expand Telehealth services in senior centers. It would be great to see senior citizens provided with internet access and the knowledge of Telehealth services so that they can pass on the knowledge about these accomplishments and see those who they know encourage others to get connected to the future of healthcare accessibility. The future of healthcare accessibility includes TotalCare – a single, virtual telemedicine platform that allows patients to conduct virtual visits with various healthcare specialty providers. The use of TotalCare’s Portable Telehealth Station in senior citizen communities is helping senior citizens in various ways. One way in which the Portable Telehealth Station is helping senior citizens is with its easy-to-use design which encourages them to seek mental health and medical care when they would otherwise not do so because of embarrassment from talking to a mental health professional or having to complete a lot of paperwork as a prerequisite to gain help. Another way that the Portable Telehealth Station is helping senior citizens is the progress that it is implementing in bridging the digital divide. The staff at the senior centers are being educated on how to use the Telehealth station and as a result of this, they are educating the senior citizens on how to manage their health using technology. Progress in Telehealth and Telemedicine is showing very promising results for senior citizens who can start or continue to live healthy and productive lives with the help of these two methods of healthcare accessibility.
Regan, Tim. “Covid-19 Opened the Telehealth Floodgates, But Barriers Remain in Senior Living.” Senior Housing News. Senior Housing News, n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2022. https://seniorhousingnews.com/2020/06/24/covid-19-opened-the-telehealth-floodgates-but-barriers-remain-in-senior-living/
WMAR Staff. “Funding towards senior citizens help expand Telehealth services.” WMAR-2 News. WMAR, n.d. Web. 26 Jul. 2022. https://www.wmar2news.com/news/local-news/funding-towards-senior-centers-help-expand-telehealth-services?_amp=true