Sheridan Health Services assisting patients to use telehealth
A joint effort with Arapahoe Library District is reducing barriers to telehealth by providing access to health monitoring equipment, hotspots, and a coordinator to schedule appointments and assist with the technology ~
AURORA, Colo. (February 11, 2022) The Sheridan Health Services (SHS), a neighborhood community health center operated by the University of Colorado College of Nursing, has launched a program with the Arapahoe Library District to assist patients in using telehealth services.
Telehealth has been around for years but never so essential as it is now with the COVID-19 pandemic. With hospitals and clinics over-run with COVID patients, telehealth services that provide care from a distance have become both a necessity and lifeline. Many, especially Spanish-speaking residents, are unsure about what telehealth is, how to use and access it, and in some instances cannot afford or do not have the proper equipment to use it effectively.
“We know we are not reaching the most vulnerable of our clients — those experiencing the greatest digital poverty,” says Chief Executive officer with Sheridan Health Services and CU Nursing Assistant Professor Erica Sherer. According to recent data, SHS has delivered telehealth in 20%–24% of visits. Only 24% of Spanish speakers accessed telehealth, compared with 76% of English speakers; and 89% of those accessing telehealth are white. Barriers to care include lack of access to residential broadband or financial means to afford cellular/broadband services.
“This program with the Arapahoe Library District provides the public with the ability to check out a variety of equipment like hotspots and laptops for free and coordinate an appointment with our providers through the library. A bilingual project coordinator is also on hand to help walk them through the use of the technology and schedule an appointment – helping them become more comfortable and less overwhelmed by telehealth and the technology,” says Sherer.
The goal of this program is to improve digital literacy and provide digital access to underserved populations. Providing equal access to resources, education, and support reduces disparities and promotes health equity in our communities. “Having access to technology for virtual visits and the confidence to use it ensures people get the care they need, when they need it. Physical and mental fitness creates wellbeing, improves lives, and enhances relationships with others. Everyone should have the chance to be as healthy as possible,” says Sherer.
A few of the telehealth services offered by Sheridan Health Services include annual physical exams, counseling and therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, assessment and evaluation, substance use treatment and more, sick visits, diabetes self-management education, evaluation and treatment of chronic diseases, health and wellness screenings, medications, nutrition counseling, behavioral health, specifically: stress, anger management, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, life transition, trauma and more.
This is a joint project between the Arapahoe Library District, the CU College of Nursing, and the Colorado Health Foundation. This service is provided to all patients regardless of the ability to pay. It is not necessary to live in Sheridan to become a patient.
About the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative science, medicine, education and patient care. The campus encompasses the University of Colorado health professional schools, more than 60 centers and institutes, and two nationally ranked independent hospitals – UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado – that treat more than two million adult and pediatric patients each year. Innovative, interconnected and highly collaborative, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus delivers life-changing treatments, patient care and professional training and conducts world-renowned research fueled by over $650 million in research grants. For more information, visit www.cuanschutz.edu.