Sunday, June 11, 2017
I Bet The Same Barriers To Digital Health Exist In Australia. Does Anyone Have The Data?
This appeared a couple of days ago.
by Evan Sweeney
Jun 9, 2017 11:08am
Lack of internet access coupled with high rates of chronic disease plague more than 60% of rural counties.
More than 36 million people live in counties across the United States where high rates of chronic disease are exacerbated by low rates of broadband connectivity.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) refers to this trend as a “double-burden” of need, and according to new data released (PDF) by the agency’s Connect2Health Task Force, those numbers are increasing. Between 2014 and 2015, one million additional Americans lived in counties with “double burden.”
Today the @FCC's #Connect2Health Task Force announced updates to the Mapping Broadband Health in America platform. https://t.co/Wq7eeo9lGc
— Mignon Clyburn (@MClyburnFCC) June 8, 2017
Unsurprisingly, 60% of rural counties saw the highest rates of chronic illness coupled with the lowest rates of broadband access and adoption. The FCC highlighted (PDF) specific counties in Alabama, Arkansas and Arizona where this discrepancy was particularly troubling.
For example, just 21% of the population in Marion County in Alabama have access to broadband, while 19% of the population have diabetes and 38% are obese. Preventable hospitalizations in that county are nearly double the national average.
Large provider groups like the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) have urged the FCC to offer more federal funding to rural healthcare facilities as means of improving high-speed internet access that is critical to integrating telehealth and digital health tools. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) said access to broadband “is, or soon will become, a social determinant of health.”
This is an unacknowledged problem world-wide. The sick, the poor and the remote are those least likely to have decent internet connectivity and are those who will need it most if digital health is to be a success in the field as well as in theory.
Maybe the Agency could have a chat – or two – with the NBN to see what might be done to optimize things. Such an issue surely forms as much a part of their mandate as a war on fax machines
Have a great holiday Monday.
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Sunday, June 11, 2017