CLEVELAND — With tele-health exploding over the last 18 months as the world has faced a pandemic, University Hospitals and PCs for People are teaming up to make virtual patient visits easier for as many people as possible, the hospital announced on Thursday.
PCs for People is an organization that helps to provide refurbished computers to those in need and have to date done so for over 300,000 people and connected over 120,000 households with low-cost internet. In Cleveland, they’ll be helping to give 500 laptops, 500 internet hot spots, and three months of broadband internet service to University Hospitals patients that meet certain criteria.
During the pandemic, UH said that there was an increase in tele-health visits of 3,000%, jumping from 11,000 such visits in 2019 to over 400,000 in 2020. The unfortunate thing is that this option hasn’t been available to everybody, including a portion of those who UH serves.
“We know many of our patients do not have proper access to the resources and technology required for our expanding telehealth options,” says Brian D’Anza, Medical Director of Telehealth at UH. “It is critical to think of the patient’s well-being beyond the walls of a doctor’s office; this includes social determinants of health such as digital connectivity which a program like this one will help to address.”
The program will be based at UH Rainbow Ahuja Center for Women & Children and coordinated through Rainbow Connects, a program that links patients and familes to different community resources that they may need. Patients will be asked to complete a simple survey and then present their Medicaid card in order to receive a laptop and hotspot, according to UH. Then, after the three-month broadband service has expired, the option to continue to receive the same internet service through PCs for People will be there for $15 per month.
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