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 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 from seeing a doctor during normal office hours.
As such, the Nutley Public Library says it is playing a role in leveling the playing field through NJ Health Connect @ Your Library so everyone might have equal chances to live their healthiest life possible.
Set to launch in May, NJ Health Connect @ Your Library addresses health inequities by providing iPads 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 patients, 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.
To reserve an iPad, visit the Nutley Public Library.
The New Jersey State Library, an affiliate of Thomas Edison State University, administers the program. The project is supported by 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,” Jen Nelson, New Jersey’s state librarian, said.
Additional information about this state program may be found at www.njstatelibr.org/njhealthconnect.