The ongoing pandemic has put a spotlight on inequities in the healthcare system, especially among the most marginalized members of the community.
Those who suffer most are new immigrants, the elderly, and people from lower incomes who lack access to medical care, technology, and health information that is necessary to make informed choices about their health.
They are confronted with barriers to health equity, such as the ability to find health information in a language or reading level that they can understand in order to ask their medical provider the right questions.
Other barriers, such as the high cost of medical insurance or the need to work irregular shift hours, exclude some people from seeing a doctor during normal office hours. Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library System is playing a role in leveling the playing field through NJHealthConnect@Your Library so that everyone has an equal chance to live the healthiest life possible.
Launched in April 2022, NJHealthConnect@Your Library addresses health inequities in the community by providing iPads that are preloaded with apps and links to telemedicine sites for doctor appointments, multilingual health information, low literacy health resources, places for mental health support for adults and teens, the latest COVID updates, and crisis hotlines in New Jersey.
While not free, telemedicine is a more affordable, portable, and convenient lifeline for people with or without medical insurance to connect with a doctor.
Telehealth is a skyrocketing trend that grew out of the pandemic and is here to stay with its proven patient satisfaction.
It allows people, especially those most vulnerable, to obtain an early-stage diagnosis, prevent illness, seek early treatment intervention, and obtain and renew medications so that health equity is within the grasp of everyone.
The New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University, is administering this program.
The project is supported by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“We are thankful for the availability of ARPA funds, which will allow us to support the state’s mission to help people get timely, high-quality health care services.
The ongoing pandemic has emphasized a need for health literacy, especially among vulnerable populations, and we’re proud to have public libraries bridge the digital divide by offering telehealth resources to their communities,” said Jen Nelson, New Jersey State Librarian.