Originally posted on Bluebird Network

Bluebird Network proudly recognizes National Health Center Week (NHCW), celebrated from August 8-14, 2021. This year’s theme is “Community Health Centers – The Chemistry for Strong Communities.” Communities have come together for the last 50 years to celebrate and raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers and the critical role played in preventive and primary care to patients.  

Hospitals and health systems, specifically in the Midwest, have faced many challenges during the last year. They have had to step up in many heroic and unprecedented ways to overcome obstacles and meet the needs of their patients in order to provide exemplary patient care. This past year, the digital divide became even more prominent within the region due to the inequitable access of services like telehealth. Telemedicine has provided many benefits in the healthcare industry by providing convenience and accessibility to patients who live in remote areas. Telemedicine can take place within the comfort and convenience of one’s own home. As telemedicine technologies have evolved, the true benefit is the ability to accurately deliver real-time patient information between the patient and the practitioner, which requires a strong backbone in the form of reliable connectivity. 

Some have found telehealth to be a silver lining during the pandemic, however many patients could not take advantage of this critical service because they were either experiencing poor connectivity or were unable to afford the needed broadband connection. As a result, the race to expand and densify fiber network connectivity is more urgent than ever. 

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