About 35 people attended the luncheon to hear from a four-person panel about challenges and potential solutions to telemedicine and how it relates to internet access. The topic appears to be a growing conversation around the state. In March, Gov.
"The reality is there is quite a gap yet in rural
Hoffman also said it will likely take about 10 years to have every part of the state sufficiently covered by fiber optics, which he called the most promising long-term option due to its nearly unlimited broadband capacity.
Panel member Rep.
For broadband, Quinn urged people in small communities to invest in a local cooperative rather than a large conglomerate because a local company can better tailor its services to fit a customer's needs.
"I might get myself in trouble, but I always tell people if you can, use your local cooperative," Quinn said.
Hoffman said when all remote areas have internet access in the future, a challenge will be user-friendliness with at-home technology, such as using a device to take one's own blood pressure.
Similarly, panel member Dr.
Blair also discussed broadband connection and workforce issues. He grew up near
"You'll lure some people out there that maybe didn't consider the rural option because they just didn't have it before," Blair said.
Still, Hoffman said it can be tough to find qualified candidates for some positions. To help address that, the company partners with local colleges to help train students and promote them from within.
Guthman repeatedly mentioned the equity portion of telehealth, noting that it is important to invest in preventative care because that will result in cost savings in the long run.
"As medical and health care experts, we have an ethical and moral obligation to address what help really means to people," Guthman said.
She also said there must be better ways to provide early access to education and medical care for children and families.
"Our kids today are hurting, and then they become young adults who are hurting, who then seem to not be able to be the productive citizens that we all would like to see," Guthman said.
Guthman said addressing older populations' medical needs will be a significant issue in western
(c)2019 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.)
Visit the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.) at www.leadertelegram.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.