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Estimating the Economic Impact of Telemedicine in a Rural Community

  • Brian E. Whitacre (a1)

Abstract

One commonly discussed benefit of broadband access in rural America is the potential for telemedicine visits that allow rural residents to take advantage of urbanized medical services. While the primary benefit of telemedicine is often viewed as improved health care access, the availability of these services also offers significant economic contributions to the local community. Site visits to 24 rural hospitals of varying size over a four-state area in the Midwest provide information to develop a methodology for estimating telemedicine's economic impact. Using this technique, telemedicine services contribute between $20,000 and $1.3M annually to these local economies, with an average of $522,000.

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