Thanks to NC Broadband Matters and Fiona Morgan for sharing this story that describes one family's need for telehealth applications and how changes in North Carolina state law could help boost infrastructure investment. With better connectivity, especially in rural areas, people who have an urgent need for telehealth and related applications, or who live far away from healthcare professionals, can access specialized care only available in urban areas.
Fiona's article originally ran July 24, 2019, on NC Hearts Gigabit's Our Stories.
A Lifeline to Heath: Why Broadband Matters for Telemedicine
by Fiona Morgan
When Daphne Sykes was 21, an accident nearly severed her spine and left her paralyzed from the neck down. At the time, she was a rising senior at UNC-Charlotte getting ready to start a career. During the medical odyssey that followed, she and her family persevered through rehab and occupational therapy, adjusting their routines and their home. Today, almost four years later, she’s a college graduate working remotely as an accountant from her family’s home in rural Cabarrus County, thanks in no small measure to high-speed Internet access.
“She’s been positive throughout this whole situation,” her mother, Lisa Sykes, said. “She’s very energetic. She’s got a dry sense of humor. Her mind is very, very clear. She’s strong in her faith, and very determined.”
The Internet is vital to Daphne’s quality of life. It allows her to do everything from operating the lights in her room to communicating with clients. “Broadband really opens up opportunities to her,” Lisa said.
For Daphne, being able to stay in constant communication with her doctor via email is essential. Like many people with spinal cord injuries, Daphne experiences neuropathic pain, often in the form of pins and needles on her feet, as well as muscle spasms. For these and other ongoing health issues, she takes a variety of medications that need frequent adjustment. A mild cold, or even a thunderstorm, can throw her health off balance.
Across North Carolina, people living with complex medical conditions are slowly getting access to telemedicine, the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients through telecommunications technology. Telemedicine can involve video conferencing, storing or sharing medical records and test...Read more