Telepsychiatry project saves $2,500 per patient

I know a lot of us are talking to people (policymakers, providers, community leaders) about the importance of broadband. So I’m going to try to track some short, sharp benefits of broadband. For example, the University of South Carolina recently posted an article on the benefits of broadband and mental health…

Using telehealth technology, mental health professionals in larger metropolitan areas access patients in those rural or remote locations and make treatment recommendations to the local health provider. More than 30,000 patients in South Carolina have been evaluated through Narasimhan’s telepsychiatry projects with a calculated savings of $2,500 per patient compared with traditional face-to-face treatment.

Cost saving appeals to insurance companies and other payers whose buy-in is key to getting psychiatrist participation, Narasimhan says. That is especially important in a state like South Carolina, which has just 10 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people.

Using telehealth technology, mental health professionals in larger metropolitan areas access patients in those rural or remote locations and make treatment recommendations to the local health provider. More than 30,000 patients in South Carolina have been evaluated through Narasimhan’s telepsychiatry projects with a calculated savings of $2,500 per patient compared with traditional face-to-face treatment.

Cost saving appeals to insurance companies and other payers whose buy-in is key to getting psychiatrist participation, Narasimhan says. That is especially important in a state like South Carolina, which has just 10 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people.

Entrepreneur Mag says small business needs better broadband

Entrepreneur Magazine outlines three problems they see facing potential entrepreneurs:

  1. Affordable education solves obsolescence – alternatives when jobs are lost to robotics
  2. Millions lack internet access
  3. Packing the backup chute – need for stability

Here’s what they have to say about internet access…

 

For some American would-be entrepreneurs, there’s still a substantial hurdle to overcome, and it’s something almost anyone reading this takes for granted; internet access.

In 1977, more than two out of every ten U.S. startups were in rural areas. Today, when high-speed internet service is a business essential, that ratio is just over one in ten. The reality is that 39 percent of rural Americans (23 million people) lack access to broadband internet speeds. Rural areas often receive “hand me down” equipment after it has been used in larger urban areas, which means rural internet service is forever behind the times.

Joel Young runs his video and animation business out of his rural Ohio home where he struggles with unreliable connectivity and speeds a fraction of what urban and suburban communities get. Joel’s is the exact kind of business that could flourish in a rural area, pulling in customers from a global marketplace without relying on local demand, but without reliable access and equal speed, businesses like Joel’s struggle to ever get off the ground and simply don’t have the same chances to succeed.

The Obama Administration introduced the National Broadband Plan in 2010, following the example of previous generations that brought electricity and telephone connectivity to every home in the country. They understood universal access is crucial for the development of the country. While President Trump and Congressional leaders have made statements around infrastructure spending, the FCC is killing a program to bring high-speed internet to low-income households with children. You could argue the administration is working against expanding crucial infrastructure.

WiFi on School Buses – vendor details

I wrote about the Minnesota state grants to support wifi on buses and other ways to get hotspots to students without access at home when they announced the awards. I thought it might be valuable to other school districts or even community centers to share this press release from a vendor who is providing service to some of the grant recipients…

Districts Receive State Funding to Connect Students Outside the Classroom

MCLEAN, Virginia (PRWEB) February 27, 2017

Kajeet, the industry leader for safe, mobile student Internet connectivity, announces its most recent partnerships as a result of money allocated by the Minnesota Department of Education. Minnesota appropriated $500,000 to fund broadband connectivity to students without Internet outside the classroom. Up to $50,000 was available for each recipient. Of the 12 school districts awarded the Internet Broadband Expansion for Minnesota Students grant, six have already partnered with Kajeet to provide Internet access to their rural students.

“Part of our district has high-speed fiber, and part has nothing. But, with high poverty rates, people can’t always afford Internet,” said Matt Grose, superintendent for Deer River Public Schools. “Now we provide Internet connectivity for homework to kids in our district who didn’t have access at home.”

All applicants applied for the first grant, “Broadband Expansion and Off-Campus Learning,” which aims to enable student access to learning materials available on the Internet through a mobile broadband connection, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot. If eligible, applicants could apply to a second grant, “School Bus Internet Access,” designed to make Internet access available on school buses, enabling students to complete homework while commuting.

Deer River also connected their entire bus fleet, as some students spend over an hour commuting to and from school. “It’s a long time to be on the bus, which breeds trouble and wasted time. This [Kajeet] program is a natural extension of our student device initiatives,” said Grose. “We’re taking advantage of student time spent on the bus.”

Kajeet Education Broadband™ met the criteria for both grants with its Kajeet SmartSpot® and SmartBus™ solutions.

K-12 Broadband Equity Aid – schools need funding for broadband

Last week, the Senate introduced a bill for more funding for broadband for schools (SF 936)…

Sec. 3. APPROPRIATIONS; K-12 BROADBAND EQUITY AID.
$9,450,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $9,650,000 in fiscal year 2019 are appropriated from  the general fund to the commissioner of education for K-12 broadband equity aid under  Minnesota Statutes, section 125B.26.
Any balance in the first year does not cancel but is available in the second year.

The bill was referred to the E-12 Finance Committee. What caught my eye was the supporting document submitted

Minnesota schools receive state support to help pay for the cost of high speed Internet access that remains after federal E-rate discounts have been applied. The annual appropriation for public schools was capped in 2010 and is $3.75 million. Total requests for this aid are nearing $10 million and steadily rising. the result is a proration amount of approximately 40% leaving districts to pay the remaining balance. In the graph below, the red line is state funding, the blue line is actual cost (after E-rate reimbursement) and pink is the trendline.

k-12-broadband-equity-aid

Internet access is mission critical for schools. Digital content, increasingly accessed over mobile devices, requires higher levels of bandwidth. Schools use the Internet in their daily operations including student instruction, food service, communications, transportation, accounting, and procurement.

Use of mobile devices has exploded over the past 2 years. This dramatic increase has severely taxed the capacities of both wireless infrastructure and bandwidth in general.  Minnesota schools need to greatly expand the broadband networks serving their institutions in order to keep up with the demands of their users.

Due to many factors including lack of provider competition, distance between schools and communities, and lack of regional infrastructure, the out-of-pocket cost to provide the same type of broadband Internet service to schools in some parts of the state is as much as 115 times or more per pupil than that of districts in the Twin Cities Metro and other larger communities.

● According to the latest statistics (FY2015) from the MN Department of Education (MDE), Ivanhoe public schools in Southwestern MN pays $140.37 per pupil (after E-rate and state funding) to provide broadband Internet services to their students and staff. This is nearly 2.5% of their total per pupil general aid.
● Suburban Columbia Heights schools pay $1.20 (after E-rate and state funding) per pupil to provide broadband Internet services to their students and staff. This is 0.02% of their total per pupil general aid.
● The average per pupil cost (after E-rate and state funding) in Southwest Minnesota is $49.01 per pupil while in the Metro region, the average cost is $5.95 per pupil.

Webinar: How small Minnesota companies can connect to Cash for STEM Internships

This looks like a great opportunity for the right business. For businesses in rural areas, it’s a nice way to introduce a young person to your community. The webinar is hosting by the MHTA (MN High Tech Association) but the webinar and the opportunity is not restricted to members…

Webinar: How small Minnesota companies can connect to Ca$h for STEM Internships | Minnesota High Tech Association

Do you work for or with small companies looking for science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) interns? Have you heard of SciTechsperience, a state-funded program that helps employers cover 50% of a STEM intern’s wages up to $2,500?

Hosts:                   Becky Siekmeier, SciTechsperience Internship Program at MHTA
Date:                     Thursday, February 23, 2017
Time:                    1:30 PM CST
Duration:             60 Minutes
Location:             Online
Cost:                      FREE

REGISTER HERE

This webinar will explain how small to mid-sized companies can take advantage of SciTechsperience, an exciting internship program that provides a low-cost solution for Minnesota businesses seeking talented college interns in STEM majors. SciTechsperience, a free, state-wide, state funded program brought to you by the Minnesota Employment & Economic Development and the Minnesota High Tech Association, provides hiring companies with a cash match of 50 percent of the intern’s wages up to $2,500.

Learn about:

  • Who can participate
  • What a SciTechsperience internship looks like – stories from the field
  • Where and when to apply
  • Why STEM is important to Minnesota’s economic future
  • How to help companies in your community take advantage of this FREE program

Support for Digitizing Cultural Resources

Thought this might be of interest to some…

Council on Library and Information Resources: Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives
Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives, an initiative of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), is intended to help digitize and provide access to non-digital collections of rare or unique content in cultural heritage institutions. Through this program, CLIR aims to enhance the emerging global digital research environment in ways that support new kinds of scholarship for the long term and to ensure that the full wealth of resources held by memory institutions becomes integrated with the open Web. Grants, ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $250,000 in the case of a single-institution project or $500,000 for a collaborative project, will be provided to colleges and universities, research centers, museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural associations, etc. To promote broad access, careful preservation, standardization, and usability, approaches to digitization should be coordinated across institutions when feasible. Online initial proposals must be submitted by April 3, 2017; final proposals are due September 20, 2017. Visit the CLIR website to review the program guidelines and application process.

Broadband for civic engagement: Facebook Live easy tool to broadcast public meetings

I am the newest, biggest fan of Facebook Live. It allows a person to livestream video from their phone. You just need a Facebook account, a smartphone and enough broadband to maintain a connection. You point your camera – click on Live – and it starts broadcasting.

I had an opportunity to use it to help out a friend this week. She was planning a conversation on homelessness in Dakota County. I figured I could help spread the word by livestreaming it for her. Amazingly 220 people showed up Monday for the event!. BUT another 250 tuned in live online – and since the event (three days ago) more than 1000 people have viewed the post and video. Again, amazing!

Recently I used Facebook Live to record a House Committee meeting too. I’ll be using it more often.

I like it because the video livestreams so it doesn’t reside on my phone, which means I don’t run out of memory. It drains the battery but not much more than taking (and not streaming) video. You will want to be on WiFi or you may hit some data caps and big bills. Once the event is finished, the video is archived. You can embed the code into your website or download the video and upload it to YouTube.

It is a great way to broadcast government meetings on a budget. Or as a citizen to record open meetings or event to share with folks who can’t attend and to have an archive for later. I spoke with Matt Ehling at the Coalition on Government Information – he let me know that as an observer, you can life-stream a public meeting that you are attending under the First Amendment.

If you use this trick to broadcast a broadband event – please let me know!

There’s another advantage of Facebook Live – the immediacy and public nature of the broadcast. Think of the livestream video of Philando Castile’s last moments posted by his girlfriend. I remember hearing an interview with her soon after the fact and she mentioned that safety was one issue she streamed video. She wanted people to know she was there and in distress. After the fact, that video has served as a record of the events.

I have also heard of people who will livestream a walk to the car at night or in a parking ramp alone. It’s not the same as having someone walk with you but it is a deterrent for unwanted attention.