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  1. Background

    Rural and remote communities were especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic due to the availability and capacity of rural health services. Research has found that key issues surrounded (1) the lack of staff, (2) the need for coordinated health services, and (3) operational and facility issues. Similarly, research also confirms that irrespective of hospital capacity issues existing during crisis, compared to urban communities, rural communities typically face poorer access to health services. Telehealth programs have long held promise for addressing health disparities perpetuated by inadequate health care access. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Adventist Health Saint Helena Hospital, a rural hospital in northern California, urgently worked to expand telehealth services. However, as Adventist Health Saint Helena Hospital is the longest-serving rural hospital in the state of California, administrators were also able to draw on experiences from the pandemic of 1918/1919. Understanding their historically rural and heavily Latino populations, their telehealth approach was coupled with cultural approaches for prioritizing socially responsive and equitable access to health services.

    Objective

    This study aimed to present one rural community’s holistic sociotechnical response to COVID-19 in redesigning their health care delivery approach. Redesign efforts included the expansion of digital health services coupled with county-wide collaborations for nondigital mobile health centers, testing, and vaccination clinics to meet the needs of those with limited digital access and language barriers.

    Methods

    We present data on telehealth services for maintaining critical care services and a framework on the feasibility of private-public partnerships to address COVID-19 challenges.

    Results

    In this paper, we provide a critical review of how a rural hospital adapted its health care approach to incorporate telehealth services and distance services to meet the needs of a diverse population.

    Conclusions

    This paper contributes empirical data on how rural communities can use telehealth technologies and community partnerships for a holistic community approach to meet health needs during a natural disaster.

    Conflicts of Interest

    None declared.

     
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  2. Background

    COVID-19 has severely impacted health in vulnerable demographics. As communities transition back to in-person work, learning, and social activities, pediatric patients who are restricted to their homes due to medical conditions face unprecedented isolation. Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that each year, over 2.5 million US children remained at home due to medical conditions. Confronting gaps in health and technical resources is central to addressing the challenges faced by children who remain at home. Having children use mobile telemedicine units (telerobots) to interact with their outside environment (eg, school and play, etc) is increasingly recognized for its potential to support children’s development. Additionally, social telerobots are emerging as a novel form of telehealth. A social telerobot is a tele-operated unit with a mobile base, 2-way audio/video capabilities, and some semiautonomous features.

    Objective

    In this paper, we aimed to provide a critical review of studies focused on the use of social telerobots for pediatric populations.

    Methods

    To examine the evidence on telerobots as a telehealth intervention, we conducted electronic and full-text searches of private and public databases in June 2010. We included studies with the pediatric personal use of interactive telehealth technologies and telerobot studies that explored effects on child development. We excluded telehealth and telerobot studies with adult (aged >18 years) participants.

    Results

    In addition to telehealth and telerobot advantages, evidence from the literature suggests 3 promising robot-mediated supports that contribute to optimal child development—belonging, competence, and autonomy. These robot-mediated supports may be leveraged for improved pediatric patient socioemotional development, well-being, and quality-of-life activities that transfer traditional developmental and behavioral experiences from organic local environments to the remote child.

    Conclusions

    This review contributes to the creation of the first pediatric telehealth taxonomy of care that includes the personal use of telehealth technologies as a compelling form of telehealth care.

     
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  3. Tele-operated social robots (telerobots) offer an innovative means of allowing children who are medically restricted to their homes (MRH) to return to their local schools and physical communities. Most commercially available telerobots have three foundational features that facilitate child–robot interaction: remote mobility, synchronous two-way vision capabilities, and synchronous two-way audio capabilities. We conducted a comparative analysis between the Toyota Human Support Robot (HSR) and commercially available telerobots, focusing on these foundational features. Children who used these robots and these features on a daily basis to attend school were asked to pilot the HSR in a simulated classroom for learning activities. As the HSR has three additional features that are not available on commercial telerobots: (1) pan-tilt camera, (2) mapping and autonomous navigation, and (3) robot arm and gripper for children to “reach” into remote environments, participants were also asked to evaluate the use of these features for learning experiences. To expand on earlier work on the use of telerobots by remote children, this study provides novel empirical findings on (1) the capabilities of the Toyota HSR for robot-mediated learning similar to commercially available telerobots and (2) the efficacy of novel HSR features (i.e., pan-tilt camera, autonomous navigation, robot arm/hand hardware) for future learning experiences. We found that among our participants, autonomous navigation and arm/gripper hardware were rated as highly valuable for social and learning activities. 
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  4. Background: Each year in the U.S. there are an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of birth and 19 years of age who are diagnosed with cancer. Many are also medically restricted to their homes each year due to symptoms, treatments, and recovery. Thus, they are consequently denied vital behavioral and developmental experiences fundamental to social connectedness and optimal development. A better understanding of the relationship between tele-technologies that facilitate person-to-person interactions and levels of social connectedness will allow us to develop innovative and comprehensive programs that improve quality of life experiences for childhood cancer survivors. 

     
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  5. Social telepresence robots (i.e., telerobots) are used for social and learning experiences by children. However, most (if not all) commercially available telerobot bodies were designed for adults in corporate or healthcare settings. Due to an adult-focused market, telerobot design has typically not considered important factors such as age and physical aspect in the design of robot bodies. To better understand how peer interactants can facilitate the identities of remote children through personalization of robot bodies, we conducted an exploratory study to evaluate collaborative robot personalization. In this study, child participants (N=28) attended an interactive lesson on robots in our society. After the lesson, participants interacted with two telerobots for personalization activities and a robot fashion show. Finally, participants completed an artwork activity on robot design. Initial findings from this study will inform our continued work on telepresence robots for virtual inclusion and improved educational experiences of remote children and their peers. 
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  6. Latine Health and Development in the Digital Age: Assets-Based Inclusive Design as a Social Movement for Equitable Distributions of Power → Inclusive design of digital platforms may increase equitable access to healthcare services and dismantle systemic barriers for Latine communities. → Ethical identification of assets in the design process can promote action through internal change or external allyship. → The ABID framework is designed to minimize technology-based amplifications of existing inequities. 
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  7. The last several years have seen a strong growth of telerobotic tech- nologies with promising implications for many areas of learning. HCI has contributed to these discussions, mainly with studies on user experiences and user interfaces of telepresence robots. How- ever, only a few telerobot studies have addressed everyday use in real-world learning environments. In the post-COVID 19 world, sociotechnical uncertainties and unforeseen challenges to learning in hybrid learning environments constitute a unique frontier where robotic and immersive technologies can mediate learning experi- ences. The aim of this workshop is to set the stage for a new wave of HCI research that accounts for and begins to develop new in- sights, concepts, and methods for use of immersive and telerobotic technologies in real-world learning environments. Participants are invited to collaboratively defne an HCI research agenda focused on robot-mediated learning in the wild, which will require exam- ining end-user engagements and questioning underlying concepts regarding telerobots for learning. 
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  8. Digital technologies shape how individuals, communities, and soci- eties interact; yet they are far from equitable. This paper presents a framework that challenges the “one-view-fits-all” design approach to digital health tools. We explore systemic issues of power to eval- uate the multidimensional indicators of Latino health outcomes and how technology can support well-being. Our proposed frame- work enables designers to gain a better understanding of how marginalized communities use digital technologies to navigate unique challenges. As an innovative and possibly controversial approach to assets-based design, we stress the importance of in- dustry and academia self-reflection on their organization’s role in the marginalization of communities in addition to valuing the lived experiences of marginalized communities. Through this approach, designers may avoid amplifying structural and health inequities in marginalized communities. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    Digital technologies shape how individuals, communities, and soci- eties interact; yet they are far from equitable. This paper presents a framework that challenges the “one-view-fits-all” design approach to digital health tools. We explore systemic issues of power to eval- uate the multidimensional indicators of Latino health outcomes and how technology can support well-being. Our proposed frame- work enables designers to gain a better understanding of how marginalized communities use digital technologies to navigate unique challenges. As an innovative and possibly controversial approach to assets-based design, we stress the importance of in- dustry and academia self-reflection on their organization’s role in the marginalization of communities in addition to valuing the lived experiences of marginalized communities. Through this approach, designers may avoid amplifying structural and health inequities in marginalized communities. 
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  10. null (Ed.)
    In the pre-pandemic world, it was estimated that 2.5 million children in the US were restricted to their homes due to medical risk. Sadly, in the COVID-19 (C-19) world and post C-19 world this number is expected to be much larger. As communities and schools return to in-person gatherings, many children will not be able to return to in-person school either due to their own health risks or the health risks of a family member. Awareness of this global reality highlights the urgent need to explore the use of inclusive technologies beyond the static screens of Zoom and online schools. As in-person schools resume, there is much we can learn from children and adolescents who pioneered the use of telerobots to not only attend school—but also to play. 
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