rural road leads to distant mountains

USDA Announces Grants for Rural Telemedicine

On November 19, in honor of National Rural Health Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture bestowed $23.4 million in awards to expand rural telemedicine and mental health services, as well as distance education, for 75 projects in 31 states. The grants will help increase access to health care in rural areas with a shortage of providers for emergency medical care, routine examinations, virtual rounds, behavioral health services, and specialty services.

The funding comes from the Distance and Learning Telemedicine Grant program and is earmarked for initial capital assets such as equipment. As explained by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “Rural communities often lack access to specialized medical care or advanced educational opportunities necessary for stronger rural economies. These grants will help increase access to health care and many other essential services.” In addition to expanding telehealth programs, the funding will enhance distance learning for tribal schools, high schools, and post-secondary training.

Although the grants focus on acquiring new hardware, in many cases, the accompanying software may ultimately determine the life expectancy of the projects beyond the initial funding. For instance, pairing state-of-the-art telemedicine equipment with an ineffective, unreliable, or awkward software platform could relegate those fancy gadgets to a dusty closet within just a few years.

Fortunately, flexible software programs like swyMed can operate with nearly any hardware setup, giving new life to unused telehealth equipment. To maximize the value and return on the initial capital assets, why not choose swyMed from the beginning? With an intuitive interface, security, and mobility, swyMed offers exceptional quality–even in poor network conditions. Matching sophisticated equipment with equally sophisticated software creates a solid foundation that can keep a telemedicine program running strong for years to come.

To view a demonstration of swyMed, visit our website today!

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