LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Accelecom and the Center for Rural Development (CRD) have partnered to bring new fiber optic infrastructure to the CRD’s 45-county region.
Accelecom, KentuckyWired’s exclusive network partner, has been working to invest in and expand fiber in the region for local business use and to help Kentucky Internet service providers reach new areas to provide high-speed service. KentuckyWired is a state-run project that builds more than 3,000 miles of high-speed, high-capacity fiber optic cable in every county in Kentucky.
The CRD wanted to help health services in rural areas improve their access to a high-speed secure fiber network so that they could use telehealth solutions. Richard Taylor, executive vice president of CRD, and Dana Nickles, executive director of the Kentucky Health Departments Association and the Kentucky Public Health Association, worked to explore this opportunity.
“We were in the middle of the pandemic. We realized we had to take a bold step forward and make a difference. It all really started as a telehealth initiative,” Taylor said. “Health Services was at the forefront of all of this, so we got together a group of healthcare experts from Kentucky and asked what we could do to help while they were inundated. These experts came up with things like electronic medical record (EMR) software and other projects, which were great ideas, but highlighted a huge missing component: broadband connectivity. »
Healthcare organizations rely on bandwidth-intensive applications that require access to a fast and reliable network. The demand for easy access to health care services will continue to grow, which will place greater expectations on health care providers. With the increase in telehealth visits, healthcare providers in Kentucky are working to stay abreast of connectivity issues within their local communities.
Accelecom helps rural healthcare organizations in Kentucky access reliable Internet and Ethernet services. Fiber optic broadband access allows Kentucky’s healthcare providers to communicate more effectively. Having multiple departments and locations on a single private network is huge for efficiency and security.
By connecting to Accelecom’s network, these rural clinics save money and increase their ability to offer software features that their patients might not otherwise have.
“These are exciting times 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 healthcare departments a enough speed to run new bandwidth-intensive applications and allow them to grow in the future without worrying about whether they have the capacity,” said Kathryn Robertson, director of business development at Accélécom.
“There are places in our area where broadband is good; however, there are many places where broadband is virtually non-existent. Inherent in many health problems in our region, travel is a major concern for citizens who are referred to clinics outside the region. If we can establish connectivity with rural health services or other healthcare organizations, patients can receive treatment without having to leave their homes or local communities,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of management of CDR.
To celebrate their successes, Accelecom and CRD, along with Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 3 at 2 p.m. at the Lake Cumberland District Health Unit.
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