The Bill Lane Center for the American West and Stanford Medicine are pleased to co-issue this white paper on telehealth in the rural American West. The paper builds upon the Lane Center’s earlier work from our Rural West Initiative, as well as ongoing research by our undergraduate teams who have been exploring connections between environment and health in the American West.
Characterized by vast distances, scarcity of care, and even fewer specialist providers, the rural western region challenges health care providers and policymakers to devise solutions that address an aging and more vulnerable population. The possibility of technological solutions is enticing, but limited by a patchwork of broadband internet access. In 2019, we hosted a one-day workshop with Stanford Medicine, with support from the Spencer F. & Cleone P. Eccles Family Foundation, that examined how telehealth and policy can improve access disparities, and treat specific crises such as opioid addiction, obesity and mental health. Our white paper continues that examination, detailing specific recommendations that decision-makers might consider.