HumanInsight Improving equitable access to care via telemedicine in rural public libraries
Public Health Nurs. 2021 Oct 6. doi: 10.1111/phn.12981. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Rural public libraries have been proposed as ideal locations from which individuals can access a telemedicine visit, but limited adoption of this practice suggests significant barriers remain. The purpose of this study was to determine rural public librarians’ perspectives on the benefits and barriers to offering patrons the ability to use their public library for a telemedicine video visit, and to suggest strategies for moving this practice forward.
DESIGN: Qualitative content analysis.
SAMPLE: Fifteen rural US librarians and library directors.
MEASUREMENTS: Individual interviews were conducted to determine perspectives on the benefits of and barriers to implementing telemedicine in public libraries.
RESULTS: We identified four themes from the data: rural public libraries increase healthcare access in a trustworthy location, librarians are supportive of telemedicine, but have concerns, limited resources drive barriers to telemedicine implementation in rural libraries, and small rural libraries continued in-person service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CONCLUSION: Rural public libraries can be an important part of achieving equitable access to care, particularly with regard to chronic disease management in rural populations. Rural public health nurses can be instrumental in promoting collaborations between local libraries and regional health systems that may help libraries overcome financial barriers to this practice.
PMID:34614251 | DOI:10.1111/phn.12981
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