Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2019

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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BROADBAND APPLICATIONS 6 2 | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 9 Telehealth and Community Broadband Take on Substance Abuse Recovering addicts require intensive support from trained specialists and peer groups. Telehealth is one of the best ways – and sometimes the only practical way – to deliver that support. By Craig Settles / Gigabit Nation A buse of opioids and other substances is covered in the news daily from coast to coast. ere seems to be no end in sight to the heartache, the billions of dollars spent and lost, and the lives lost or damaged. ough no one claims technology is a silver bullet that will make addiction go away, telehealth can give communities a leg up in keeping pace with the epidemic or, hopefully, stemming the tide. But telehealth is hugely dependent on another technology: community broadband, or high-speed internet delivered by municipalities and counties, public utilities and co-ops. ese entities typically value their communities' well- being above everything and commit to making broadband universally available. Without broadband, telehealth providers cannot attack or treat substance abuse and opioid addiction. FREE TELEHEALTH JOINS THE BATTLE In February, telehealth vendor VSee announced a free version of its software platform, VSee Clinic. Practitioners can download this platform, which is suitable for many telehealth applications, from the company's website. Mental health professionals, general practitioners, specialists, clinics and other medical providers can test VSee Clinic to see how they and their patients respond to telehealth. Doctors cannot issue online prescriptions for substances regulated by the DEA. However, Milton Chen, CEO of VSee, says they can use telehealth to manage initial patient screenings and video consultations. Standard detox programs are intrusive, requiring patients to check in to a center for 30 days. Many low- and middle-income people cannot afford the cost or the time. Detox centers provide medical treatment for the physical drug withdrawal. "ey also incorporate counseling and therapy during detox to help with the withdrawal," explains Chen. "Telehealth gives patients the option to do this after work." Dr. Edward Kaftarian, chief of telepsychiatry for California Correctional Healthcare Services, believes telepsychiatry requires good video and audio connections with guaranteed security, anywhere between 30 and 100 Mbps. Kaftarian says, "Slower speeds may be adequate [for the video call], but doctors may lack enough bandwidth for simultaneously charting, accessing medical records and consulting other information sources." "Substance abuse often leads to other medical issues that require specialized treatments," says Erika Chuang, vice president of product management for VSee. "Rural hospitals, in particular, need access to various specialists who work in larger cities that are

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