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Access to Technology

Some early childhood health promotion programs require technology and access to an internet connection. For example, some programs may need to be able to access and print online materials. Increasingly, rural school-based health centers and other healthcare providers are using telehealth to reach children and families. Telehealth services can be highly beneficial in remote and rural areas where transportation and distance to providers can be a barrier to healthcare access. For more information on telehealth programs and considerations for children, see Telehealth Models for Increasing Access to Care Among Children in the Rural Telehealth Toolkit.

Access to the appropriate technology and required equipment to implement these programs can be a challenge in some communities. Rural communities are less likely than non-rural communities to have home broadband, smartphones, and other technology that support implementation of health promotion programs with a technology component. Challenges with technology, including lack of access, can hinder program implementation and create frustration or resistance to trying new programs. Appropriate training of staff is also necessary to ensure that the technology is fully utilized during program implementation.

The Rural Telehealth Toolkit provides information about connectivity considerations for telehealth and other programs that require access to technology. RHIhub's Rural Health Funding & Opportunities by Topic: Broadband in the Online Library list funding programs that could be used to improve broadband connection in rural communities.

Resources to Learn More

Connect America Fund (CAF)
Website
A federal program to accelerate broadband build-out to those who lack access to infrastructure capable of providing 10/1 Mbps fixed broadband.
Organization(s): Federal Communications Commission (FCC)