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Rural Health Information Hub

Implementation Considerations for Telehealth Programs Serving People Who Are Incarcerated

Providing telehealth services to people who are incarcerated in rural correctional facilities can ensure that inmates receive timely access to care. Telehealth programs can also help reduce safety risks to security personnel and costs, such as those associated with inmate transportation.

One study of telepsychiatry in prison settings found that technical issues were the most persistent challenge to providing telehealth services in correctional facilities, due to strong firewall protections that can make it difficult to gain internet access to the facilities. Other barriers include unreliable servers that can make it difficult to maintain live-video connection. Rural telehealth programs seeking to provide services to people in correctional facilities may need to build strong relationships with prison administrators in order to find ways to overcome technical barriers to telehealth adoption.

Resources to Learn More

State Prisons Turn to Telemedicine to Improve Health and Save Money
Describes the process of implementing telehealth services in a state prison. Depicts the personal accounts of physicians providing telehealth services for prisoners.
Author(s): Ollove, M.
Date: 1/2016

Telehealth: Increasing Access to High Quality Care by Expanding the Role of Technology in Correctional Medicine
Reviews available literature to demonstrate that telemedicine could lead to improved clinical outcomes and decrease costs when implemented in prisons and correctional facilities.
Author(s): Young, J.D. & Badowski, M.E.
Citation: Journal of Clinical Medicine, 6(2), 20
Date: 2/20