Some of the best stories about successful rural health projects are often from those who offer medical services, or those who benefit from those services. It was inspiring to hear from an Oklahoma woman who cared for her elderly mother, thankful because broadband and telemedicine services meant she no longer had to spend the better part of an hour sending medical data to a hospital over 100 miles away via dial-up service and then wait another hour for medication instructions.
USDA funding for broadband and Distance Learning and Telemedicine services helps connect rural communities to medical services and improve access to quality care from health care experts. For example, Norton Healthcare Foundation in Kentucky provides specialty care to patients in rural communities using telemedicine technology. Providers consult with specialists to determine changes in care and whether care can be managed locally. This reduces unnecessary transfers and allows patients to remain in their community where their support system is.