Big Bend Region is Changing the Face of Healthcare
Jeff Davis County Library Brings Doctors to Patrons
Jeanine Bishop demonstrates interactive health kiosk . Photos by Carolyn Campbell .
By Caroline Campbell
On a Friday afternoon at the Jeff Davis County Library in Fort Davis , Lupe Rubio tested out the self-testing blood pressure cuff in new telehealth room . Like others who ’ ve visited the Virtual Conference Center , she excitedly said , “ I can see my doctor here ? I usually have a lot of trouble because I don ' t know how to do all that stuff with a phone . When my daughter-in-law ’ s not here , it ' s kind of hard for me . This would be perfect .”
Located in a remote town three to five hours from specialists and hospitals , Jeff Davis County Library converted a seven-foot by twenty-foot storage room into a private , confidential setting outfitted with self-guided medical equipment for online doctor appointments . The Telehealth model , sometimes called telemedicine , allows doctors to provide healthcare to patients over the internet instead of in-person office visits . Done primarily online with computer , tablet , or smartphone , patients talk to their doctor , send and receive secure messages , and use remote monitoring to check health stats and have prescriptions sent to the nearest pharmacy .
Jeanine Bishop , President of the Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library , believes having telehealth can transform the health of her community . “ We have a small hospital in Alpine that ’ s fine if you have a broken finger , but for any more serious issues , people have to travel a minimum of three hours to get to El Paso or Midland / Odessa . That ’ s a long way to go for a 15-minute appointment for anyone , but for elderly folks it ’ s especially difficult . When COVID hit and doctors started offering patients online appointments , we thought this would be a great time for us to bring telehealth to our library .”
In a recent report , the CDC ’ s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion noted that , “ People who live in rural areas of the United States are more likely than urban residents to die prematurely from all of the five leading causes of death : heart disease , cancer , unintentional injury , chronic lower respiratory disease , and stroke . Telehealth can be an effective approach for communication and counseling . Better monitoring can improve patients ’ quality of life and reduce hospital admissions and deaths from chronic diseases . In addition , telehealth is a good way to deliver care quickly in an emergency , such as a stroke .”
Continued on page 10 .
6 Big Bend Real Estate Guide • July 2022