South Carolina approves bill to expand high-speed internet, improve telemedicine access

The South Carolina House passed a proposal April 4 that would require the state to help pay for expanded broadband internet access in low-income counties, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Three notes:

1. Increasing broadband internet access will help low-income South Carolina residents communicate online with their healthcare providers, Gov. Henry McMaster said, according to the report.

"If we could have a way for [low-income patients] to have access to needed information and treatment and advice early on, we could eliminate a lot of these problems and keep from being large problems," Mr. McMaster said. "If we can keep people healthy, then that takes a long way to the kind of prosperity we want to have."

2. More than 500,000 South Carolina residents lack access to broadband internet access, according to the report.

3. If the bill passes in the state Senate, providers could potentially apply for up to $2 million to increase broadband internet service in underserved, rural areas. These areas encompass 90 percent of households that lack access to fixed broadband at speeds greater than dial-up.

More articles on telehealth:
Pediatric telemedicine visits may lead to uptick in antibiotic overprescribing, study shows
Fair Health: Use of telehealth services increased 53% in 2017
Teladoc expands virtual care services into Canada

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