Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

Informatics association pushes FCC on broadband access

May 23, 2017 AT 7:09 PM

Income security, housing security, transportation options.  These are but a few of life’s challenges that are included on the list of social determinants of health, and the American Medical Informatics Association recently urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to add another one: broadband access.

According to an article in HealthcareIT News, “AMIA said the so-called ‘digital divide’ can have an adverse impact on health, and urged the FCC to count internet access among the social determinants of health when developing future policies and programs.”

The informatics group also recommended ways FCC could focus program development supporting broadband-enabled care delivery.

"FCC has a critical role in ensuring that Americans benefit from the electronic health infrastructure that was initiated with the passage of the HITECH Act and supported by the 21st Century Cures Act," said AMIA.

Among the concrete suggestions the group made concerning how the FCC can better support broadband and its uses in healthcare delivery were enhancing partnerships with federal, state and local agencies to put broadband-enabled health technologies to work combatting the opioid epidemic, and better aligning programs that can bolster efforts manage chronic conditions, while also ensuring that these populations have access to affordable broadband and broadband-enabled health tools.

As a starting point, AMIA said federal regulators should examine other sources of administrative data from government agencies such as CMS, ONC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to assess the capacity and needs of broadband-enabled healthcare.