Complimenting the efforts of Arkansas e-Link, the Arkansas Center for Telehealth (ACT) studies what training and services are needed to maintain that infrastructure in order to promote statewide broadband adoption through telemedicine. The Arkansas Center for Telehealth was created through the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Sustainable Broadband Adoption grant to promote broadband health adoption through this outreach, education, and awareness initiative aimed at healthcare providers, administrators, and the public residing in the south’s vulnerable populations, such as rural Arkansans.
ACT addresses problems directly related to the under-usage of broadband-assisted technologies in the clinical, research and educational activities of Arkansas’s healthcare organizations. ACT delivers technology training, needs-based curricula, an educational website, awareness campaign and 24/7 technical support. This funding of $823,080.76 was granted in partnership with Connect Arkansas, the governor-appointed organization charged with expanding broadband usage throughout the state, and was provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the same government organization that awarded CDH with the $102M award for a statewide broadband initiative involving more than 400 partners. In the next fiscal year, the ACT team will visit many clinics within the service counties to provide telehealth education.
Also over the next year, a statewide broadband-assisted health technology needs assessment will be conducted throughout Arkansas, through which community outreach workers will evaluate the needs of healthcare providers practicing throughout Arkansas. The assessment will look more specifically at provider’s knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding telehealth. The first assessment will be conducted with Arkansas providers, then expanded out to Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana. Results will be tabulated to guide development of ACT training tools, curricula and website content.