Telehealth in Oregon
Oregon has been viewed nationally as a leader in the field of telehealth since the early 1990s and continues to be a leader today. From the early deployment of satellite-delivered telehealth services to rural Oregon to the successful advocacy for broadband deployment across the state, and to the early adoption of legislation that provides coverage for Oregonians needing telehealth services, Oregon has worked diligently to make clinical services accessible to all via telehealth.
Telehealth in Oregon allows patients to stay closer to home, whether for clinical appointments with their primary care provider, a specialist in a distant city, or complex care delivered in a community hospital ICU using advanced telehealth technology. Telehealth also guides patients to the right care at the right time, including cutting-edge AI technology that can direct patients to a convenient video visit with an urgent care provider rather than a trip to a crowded and expensive ER.
Oregon's Telehealth Mapping
To illustrate the growth of telehealth particularly in Oregon’s rural areas TAO and the Office of Rural Health (ORH) have mapped telehealth activity in Oregon’s Critical Access Hospitals and its Rural Health Clinics.
Oregon Critical Access Hospitals (made possible with ORH funding
Oregon Rural Health Clinics (made possible with Cares Act Funds from the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center)
These story maps show where telehealth activity is occurring, the kinds of services provided along with other useful information about the hospital or clinic.
TAO hopes to find funding to create more of these maps in the future.
Broadband in Oregon
Successful telehealth programs require access to broadband technology. Without ubiquitous access to broadband, there is no ubiquitous access to healthcare through telehealth. Those most affected are folks who live in rural areas, the elderly, and people of color.
Oregon has a world-class telecommunications infrastructure extending throughout the state. Multiple fiber optic backbone networks with diverse routing provide excellent network reliability and connectivity delivering reliable high-capacity digital services throughout the state. Broadband internet access is widely available for businesses and residents. The Oregon Broadband Office promotes access to broadband services for all Oregonians to improve the state’s economy and quality of life.
Oregon is also very fortunate to have a Broadband Office housed within Business Oregon. During the 2021 Legislative Session 120 million was allocated for the Oregon Broadband fund which provides funds for administering the office and for broadband grants and loans.
The Office maintains an excellent web page with many excellent resources including a well maintained Oregon Broadband Map. The map collects and reports broadband internet provider service information for facilities-based providers in Oregon.
Oregon’s Telehealth Stories
TAO wants to share exciting stories of telehealth in Oregon. We are looking for stories of new programs, expanded programs, programs receiving grants for telehealth, and groups who have published their telehealth successes.
TAO will publish one or two new stories every month. If you have a story or know of an organization that has a telehealth story, please contact TAO using the Contact form on the website. TAO welcomes your ideas and suggestions.
How Legacy Health Expanded Inpatient Ambulatory Telehealth
OHSU Dialed in: How COVID-19 fueled the growth of telemedicine