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Telehealth for Older Adults

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Telehealth for Older Adults

Nashville Public Library

Digital Equity and Citizenship | 2021 | Top Innovator

Innovation Summary

The Nashville Public Library’s Digital Inclusion Program partnered with Comcast and senior service providers to provide devices, broadband and skill training through a mix of remote, live and one-on-one training focused on helping seniors develop basic digital skills and learning how to access patient portals and Telehealth services.

Problem Statement

Digital literacy has become a necessity to fully participate in today’s society. Yet a PEW 2019 report indicates that “…seniors are much more likely...to say they never go online... 27% still do not use the internet.” PEW reports show that technology adoption among seniors has not improved much during the last two years. The 2018 Community Needs Evaluation Report reveals that there are 10,625 persons age 60 and over in poverty in Davidson County. These seniors do not have the financial means to acquire computer devices.


Innovation

Seniors have been the least prepared to access essential services like healthcare from the safety of their homes during the pandemic while at the same time being the most vulnerable. NPL’s Digital Inclusion Team, aware of this inequity, began to transform its live digital literacy curriculum for seniors into a virtual curriculum that included patient portals and Telehealth. NPL partnered with Comcast, who provided devices and free Internet, and senior service agency partners to reach seniors in Nashville.


Progress

Telehealth survey data to date shows that:

  • 98% of participants feel more knowledgeable about using computers and about Telehealth
  • 98% feel more confident about trying Telehealth
  • 100% intend to apply what they have learned in the Telehealth program
  • 100% are more aware of the technology resources and services provided by the library
  • 100% of program agency partners strongly agree that this is a valuable service for the seniors they serve