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Michigan rural hospitals have high-speed internet, but their patients don't, CMU study finds.

Gladwin Hospital's emergency room entrance, with the evening sun shining on it.
Scott Rechlin
MyMichigan Medical Center in Gladwin was one of the hospitals that participated in Central Michigan University's Telehealth Broadband Pilot Program.

The first phase of a Central Michigan University study to measure the accessibility, speed and performance of telehealth services in six rural Michigan counties has finished.

Data from the Telehealth Broadband Pilot Program shows that healthcare centers in Gladwin, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Osceola and Oscoda counties have access to high-speed internet. However, patients or residents around the hospital were shown to have limited access to the same kind of internet services.

The data was gathered by giving hospitals a device called a “Raspberry Pi,” which would do speed tests repeatedly throughout a set time period to measure when internet service is at fastest and slowest rates.

Lead researcher, John Jervinsky, said the new data is going to be used by the state of Michigan to help expand high-speed internet services into rural counties.

"Michigan was recently allocated $1.59 billion with the purpose of expanding high speed internet service to unserved and underserved broadband serviceable locations throughout Michigan," Jervinsky said.

Jervinsky also mentioned that the brand-new data will provide insight into the average resident's experience with their internet, whether it's slow, unreliable or poor in service.

Scott Rechlin is a production assistant and on-host for WCMU
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