LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Accelecom and The Center for Rural Development (CRD) have teamed up to bring new fiber optic infrastructure to the CRD’s 45-county region.
Accelecom, the exclusive partner with the KentuckyWired network, has been busy investing and expanding fiber within the region for local business use and to facilitate Kentucky internet service providers to reach new areas to provide broadband service. KentuckyWired s a state-run project constructing over 3,000 miles of high-speed, high-capacity fiber optic cable in every county in Kentucky.
The CRD wanted to assist rural area health departments to upgrade their access to a high-speed secured fiber network so they could utilize telehealth solutions. Richard Taylor, executive vice president of CRD, and Dana Nickles, executive director of the Kentucky Health Departments Association and Kentucky Public Health Association, worked to explore the opportunity.
“We were right in the middle of the pandemic. We realized we needed to come up with a bold move forward and make a difference. This all really began as a telehealth initiative,” Taylor said. “Health departments were at the forefront of all of this so we pulled together a panel of Kentucky healthcare experts and asked what we could do to help while they were flooded. These experts proposed items like electronic medical record (EMR) software and other projects, which were great ideas, but highlighted a huge missing component: broadband connectivity.”
Health care organizations rely on bandwidth-intensive applications, which require access to a network that is high-speed and reliable. The demand for easy access to health care services is going to continue to grow, placing greater expectations on health care providers. With telehealth visits on the rise, Kentucky health care providers are working to stay in front of connectivity concerns within their local communities.
Accelecom is helping rural health care organizations in Kentucky get access to reliable internet and ethernet services. Having access to high-speed, fiber broadband allows Kentucky health care providers the ability to communicate more efficiently. Having multiple departments and locations on one private network is huge for both efficiency and security.
By connecting to Accelecom’s network, these rural clinics are saving money and increasing their ability to offer software features their patients otherwise couldn’t have.
“This is an exciting time for healthcare in Kentucky. Broadband availability has always been a challenge in our rural areas. Bringing these low-cost, high-speed connections will give these health departments enough speed to utilize new bandwidth-intensive applications and allow them to grow into the future without worrying if they have the capability,” said Kathryn Robertson, director of business development at Accelecom.
“There are places in our region where broadband is good; however, there are numerous places where broadband is virtually non-existent. Inherent of a lot of health care issues in our region, travel is a big concern for citizens who are referred to out-of-area clinics. If we can get connectivity out to rural health departments or other health care organizations, patients can receive treatments without having to leave their home or local communities,” noted Lonnie Lawson, CRD president and CEO.
To highlight their successes, Accelecom and CRD, along with Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. at Lake Cumberland District Health Department.
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