Connectivity Considerations for Telehealth Programs
Access to high-speed broadband
internet continues to be a barrier for many rural telehealth programs. Lack of connectivity can hinder
the implementation and expansion of telehealth programs that require live-video connections between patients and
providers. Dropped calls and delays in video feeds can interrupt care delivery and lead to patient
dissatisfaction with telehealth.
Some rural telehealth programs are adapting to limited connectivity by focusing on services that use cellular
networks or text messaging services to reach patients. For example, to address limited access to broadband in
rural Oregon, the Direct to Patient
Tele-Behavioral Health Services program offers a text-based option for behavioral
therapies. Patients without internet access may find it easier to connect with providers through text messages.
Other rural programs are building partnerships to implement long-term solutions to connectivity in their
communities. See Rural Health Funding & Opportunities by
Topic: Broadband in the Online Library for programs to improve broadband connection in rural
Resources to Learn More
Technical Issues - Connectivity and Security
Discusses efforts to improve connectivity and security to improve access to telehealth in rural
Author(s): Spargo, G.
Organization(s): Telehealth Technology Assessment Center, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium