The Storm Lake Public Library held an open house Thursday, January 4, 2024 to showcase its new telehealth room to the public.
A first for the state, the facility offers patrons the opportunity to communicate with physical or mental health providers online, overcoming computer access or travel limitations.
The space offers full privacy, with two computer terminals plus web camera and audio equipment, so a loved one or translator can also participate in a distance session. The room can be scheduled for time periods from 9-5 weekdays free of charge.
Library Board leader Mary Kay Hudspeth noted that the telehealth room is the first to be located in a public library in Iowa - and the entire Great Plains region - with the nearest such offering located in Texas.
She termed the development a “rare and unique opportunity,” and thanked city officials for spearheading a COVID response grant to make the project possible. “We couldn’t be more proud,” she said.
The library is viewed as a safe and welcoming place, and already receives heavy public utilization of a free-access computer lab, so the location is a good fit for the growing use of telehealth services, Library Director Elizabeth Huff suggests. With a recent “soft opening,” the facility has already proven to be a well-used resource.
The room can be used to teleconference with medical professionals, physical therapists, mental health services, social work programs and educators. For details on scheduling times for use, contact the library at 712-732-8026.