Connect2Health Says ‘Isolated’ Counties in Dire Need of Broadband
The Connect2Health Task Force has released an update to its research on the availability of broadband health services, identifying counties in the U.S. in which there is a critical need for increased availability of high-speed Internet services delivering healthcare services.
The group, supporting the health technology efforts of the Federal Communications Commission, released a new priority list of “critical need” counties in broadband and health, which are among those most in need of broadband health solutions or are “digitally isolated.”
The findings were included in the group’s update of its “Mapping Broadband Health in America” platform, which the federal agency released in June. The new information reflects the latest complete annual fixed broadband data from the FCC and updated health data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings.
“As telehealth, telemedicine and other cutting-edge mHealth initiatives gain momentum across the country, this web-based mapping platform enables more efficient, data-driven decision making at the intersection of broadband and health,” says Michele Ellison, chair of the Connect2Health FCC Task Force.
The fixed broadband data in the mapping update was released in December 2016, covering data submissions as of December 2015. The health data is drawn from the 2017 release of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings & Roadmap. This map data update provided the Task Force with an opportunity to look at broadband and health data between years.
The group’s estimation of areas most needing broadband health support are dubbed “The Priority 2017” and “Rural Priority 2017.” It aims to highlight areas of the country seeing increases in chronic diseases and shortages of medical services.