Big Bend Real Estate Guide July 2022 | Page 10

Continued from page 6 .

Through funding from the Texas Support Libraries ( TLS ) Grant , the library modeled their Virtual Conferencing Center after a center designed by Pottsboro , Texas library director Dianne Connery . According to Connery , Fort Davis is just one of twenty libraries in the country , both city and rural , that have a telehealth program . In under six months , for less than $ 8,000 , the room was outfitted with a high speed computer , side lights for visual assessment , a blood pressure monitor , oximeter , scale , and a sit-to-stand table to accommodate patient needs . The last component to be installed is a health information kiosk featuring a user-friendly touchscreen with accurate , vetted information about mental and physical health resource information , as well as online health games in multiple languages .
Bishop reflected on the wealth of benefits telehealth can provide . “ In addition to medical practitioners , families could have access to social workers , family counselors and other resources helpful to their particular situation or their child ' s circumstances , services not accessible to our community .”
Diane Ferrell , the Director of Development and External Relations at Dayton Metro Library in Dayton , Ohio , explains why telehealth centers in
Melissa Henderson testing out telehealth equipment libraries can provide a lifeline to many patrons : “ The most obvious reason many associate with the benefits of telemedicine is the lack high speed internet or the cameraenabled computers in the home . What ’ s often overlooked though , is the lack of privacy to have a safe , confidential conversation about a highly personal health matter or interpersonal issue with someone who might be in the household . By having a room at the library , the person can just say , ‘ I ’ m going to the library ,’ and meet with their provider without the fear of being overheard or judged .”
As Jeff Davis County Library continues to evolve as a hub for community learning , connection and wellness , Bishop sees the private and confidential telehealth room as a vital component the library ’ s services . To make telehealth available to the largest number of people possible , the library will be contracting the University of North Texas Health Science Center , the medical care network used by many other libraries . UNTHSC covers both Medicare and Medicaid to provide access to all income levels in the community .
Getting people comfortable with the technology is an important hurdle to cross , according to Connery . “ It can be challenging . Telehealth in libraries is trying to combine two things – seeing a doctor through virtual technology and changing how the community views their library . For many people , when you hear the word library , you think , ‘ When I was in fourth grade , I loved to be in the stacks and smell the books .’ Well , that ' s not what we do anymore . Setting up a medical appointment at a library is not on many people ’ s radar , yet .”
Jeff County Library is experiencing a similar challenge . Nine-year-old Alyssa Chavez summed up the concerns when her aunt , Angel Chavez , brought her into the library to check out the telehealth room . At the end of the visit Alyssa said , “ I feel like I ' d be a little nervous at first . Trying new things can be scary . But it ’ s good .”
Lupe Rubio uses self-directed blood pressure cuff .
By eliminating the stigma and the barriers , and providing a private , safe setting , libraries hope that people will see them as a resource for better health in addition to a provider of books . Being at the vanguard of this emerging technology , there ’ s no roadmap and little funding . To alter mindsets and build the trust and confidence needed to get people to come the library for medical care , Bishop says , “ We just keep spreading the word . If we can get people comfortable with the technology and seeing that the library can offer a safe place to get health care , we can transform our community ’ s wellbeing .”
At the front lines of helping people through these transitions are the librarians who , on a daily basis , help people accomplish tasks they can ’ t do at home -- make prints , log on to the internet , check their emails and now access their doctors . As Rubio left the library , she and librarian Barb Scarboro discussed the impact the room could have on their life . “ It could be a life changer for so many older people ,” Barb commented . Rubio agreed , “ Being able to come down the street to see my doctor can make all the difference .” �
10 Big Bend Real Estate Guide • July 2022