Telemedicine is frequently touted as a technology tool that can help improve healthcare access for rural populations, especially in areas with physician shortages. But telemedicine might not be the silver bullet to improve rural healthcare when those same areas have significant infrastructure challenges, according to researchers.Rural counties where access to primary care physicians and psychiatrists is inadequate also have substantially lower broadband penetration rates, according to a recent research report published in Annals of Internal Medicine.This observation suggests that the inadequate broadband infrastructure in rural areas prevents telemedicine from mitigating the barriers to care associated with physician shortages and may explain the low rates of telemedicine use among rural Medicare enrollees, the researchers said in the report.

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