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High-tech group will work to improve rural health care in the region

Use of Telehealth in rural areas rose during the coronavirus pandemic and may be the start of more remote health care
Janice Chang | NPR
Use of Telehealth in rural areas rose during the coronavirus pandemic and may be the start of more remote health care.

BioSTL has worked on technology startup efforts and economic development in St. Louis for more than 20 years, and is now looking to add rural health care services to its portfolio.

The group recently announced it will open the Center for Rural Health Care Innovation.

The effort came out of GlobalSTL, which connected international technology firms with health care providers in Missouri.

A British company launched a mobile app in southeastern Missouri counties to improve access to telehealth, an Israeli firm is sharing software with the St. Louis Veterans Administration to help remote seniors with social isolation, and a Portuguese provider is serving rural Missouri communities with its remote physical therapy options.

"BioSTL sees innovation and convening rural buying power as key levers for bringing a new model of health and economic vitality to rural areas and for bridging the urban-rural divide," said Vijay Chauhan, the leader of the GlobalSTL project.

Donn Rubin, BioSTL’s CEO, said, “All of us together and all of these institutions and organizations coming together make Missouri an even stronger magnet to attract the very best innovation from around the world to Missouri.”

Gov. Mike Parson said the effort could be a major step toward making sure all Missourians can get good health care regardless of where they live.

“To be able to provide services to people in their own homes is a game changer for us in this state. And it can be done. We can help people. We can help them physically and we can help them mentally,” Parson said.

The initial efforts will focus on Missouri and Illinois but could spread to other Midwestern states, including Kansas and Indiana.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

Jonathan is the Rolla correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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