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FCC Commissioner Visits Mississippi to Promote Telehealth

JACKSON, Miss. – Addressing how technology can improve access to healthcare in Mississippi was the goal of the Broadband Summit at the Jackson Convention Complex Tuesday. Speakers included Governor Phil Bryant and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Both are expected in Sunflower County Wednesday to promote the North Mississippi Medical Center’s Diabetes Telethealth Network.

“You face issues that we all face, like diabetes, obesity, stroke, and cancer. And while healthcare providers are doing their best, there simply are not enough providers,” said Clyburn.

Clyburn says telehealth is the way to improve access to healthcare. Currently 68 percent of Mississippi’ healthcare providers live in urban areas, but 60 percent of Mississippians live in rural areas.

“People underestimate what we have been able to do because of AT&T and C Spire, a company that started here in Mississippi. We have expanded broadband connectivity throughout the state of Mississippi. So we are in the top 7th for telemedicine in the nation,” said Bryant.

“We had a tremendous program with GE Healthcare, North Sunflower Medical Center, UMMC and CSpire working to make sure we get telehealth in the community.  The only way we are going to be able to provide the healthcare services that we need in that particular area is to have home healthcare services using telemedicine.”

Bryant says infrastructure to support broadband is expanding that region of the state and he expects connectivity to be light-years ahead of where it was when the completed.

The North Mississippi Medical Center’s Diabetes Telethealth Network plans to enroll hundreds of diabetic patients in the delta to connect with healthcare providers online. Utilizing web cameras and other technology healthcare providers will be able to monitor, treat, and care for patients in their own home.

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