Even before COVID-19 rocked America, one-third of rural hospitals nationwide were on the brink of shutting down and others struggled to stay afloat. For more than 60 million Americans, or 20 percent of the US population, living in a rural community too often plays a role in the type of healthcare received. Access to healthcare, economic development, and infrastructure go hand-in-hand when it comes to changing this outlook for rural communities.
At IFN, we’re an active participant in the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA), an organization dedicated to improving the health of Hoosiers in rural communities (just as we’re committed to improving the connectivity of rural Hoosiers). Our fiber backbone hosts the Indiana Telehealth Network, an initiative that connects healthcare providers with funding from the FCC for high-speed broadband access.
But what does our involvement in these organizations mean for real Hoosier customers?
It means IFN can connect most of the critical access hospitals in Indiana to high speed, high bandwidth fiber, meaning we’re helping the largest healthcare providers in the state expand their connection into rural areas that need care most.
These efforts don’t just stop at our involvement with the IRHA, however. We connect hundreds of hospitals and clinics with more than 75 healthcare customers providing the high availability and redundancy that hospitals require. Not only that, we’re providing hospitals access to data centers so their networks can communicate seamlessly and quickly, allowing for top-of-the-line patient care across the board. With IFN’s extensively connected healthcare network, we make it easy and cost-efficient for providers to be interconnected.
When it comes to enterprise healthcare, our customer base and experience is unmatched. We’ve been delivering high-quality connections to Hoosier hospitals for more than a decade. We have also helped hospitals mitigate specific challenges, such as our work with Community Health Network and Aspire Indiana to build networks that have the flexibility for current challenges but could also scale to accommodate future system improvements. IFN’s ability to address constant updates and maintenance needed to run state-of-the-art technology at critical access hospitals means more patients can be treated with more advanced healthcare technology.
One advanced practice that shows promise for rural communities is telehealth –and it has already become a useful tool for doctors and patients when maintaining social distance. Studies show that telehealth is predicted to be a $2.8 billion industry in the U.S. by 2025, up from $240 million just five years ago. As this practice continues to take off, rural healthcare providers will be able to use the higher capacity bandwidth provided by fiberlines to better serve the needs of their communities.
Curious about the solutions IFN offers to Indiana health care providers? Contact us today to talk about what we can do for your business.