According to the FCC Connect2Health Task Force, the picture of health is very different in connected communities vs. digitally isolated communities.
“This holds true across access to care, quality of care and health outcome metrics,” the task force says in a statement. “For example, obesity prevalence is 25 percent higher and diabetes prevalence is 35 percent higher in these counties (i.e., where 60 percent of households lack access to broadband and over 60 percent lack basic internet connections at home.)”
To tackle the issue, the task force announced the launch this week of the Mapping Broadband Health in America tool, a web-based mapping tool that allows users to ask and answer questions about broadband and health at the county and census block levels.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn spoke about the launch of the Mapping Broadband Health in America Platform at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center on Tuesday.
“The FCC’s mapping effort is historic, because it directly addresses the serious and growing challenge of ensuring that the transformative power of broadband in health is available to everyone,” she says. “To use public health parlance, broadband connectivity has become a social determinant of health, along with income, education and rurality.”
Connect2Health reports the mapping tool shows various aspects of connectivity and health for every U.S. state and county. Users can reportedly generate customized maps that display broadband access, adoption and speed data alongside various health measures (e.g., obesity, diabetes, disabilities and physician access) in urban and rural areas.
“These maps can be used by both public and private sectors and local communities to identify not only gaps, but also opportunities,” the task force reports.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says the insights revealed by the mapping platform can be used by both businesses and policymakers to effect change and innovation.
Task Force Chair Michele Ellison believes the map reveals otherwise hidden realities about broadband and health at the county level.
“We have seen the faces behind this data and we know firsthand what a difference connectivity can make,” Ellison notes.
Filed Under: Industry regulations