Communications technology-enabled solutions that can play an important role in the transformation of healthcare. Media coverage of health issues. And the impact of various media on health.
Health and Media
In October 2019, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society issued Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s. The agenda was comprehensive, constructed upon achievements in communities and insights from experts across the nation. The report outlined the key building blocks of broadband policy—deployment, competition, community anchor institutions, and digital equity (including affordability and adoption).
Community anchor institutions should be at the center of any comprehensive national strategy to promote the availability and use of High-Performance Broadband. Community anchor institutions use broadband to provide essential services to their community, such as education, information access, and telehealth services. But in the 21st century, community anchors’ missions are moving beyond their walls. Libraries no longer deliver knowledge that is housed only within their buildings or the covers of hardbound books.
What happens when a prime time TV show becomes a potential healthcare policy direction, plus a side helping of broadband adoption strategy? An episode of the NBC TV medical melodrama New Amsterdam inspired a five-city telehealth pilot project involving barbershops and hair salons. The show’s medical director had a brilliant idea to enlist barbershops in African-American neighborhoods to screen customers for hypertension (high blood pressure), which leads to an overwhelming majority of the 140,000 stroke-related deaths a year.
Bridging the digital divide can help address our nation’s persistent health disparities. Rural Americans not only face limited access to health-care facilities, but “suffer from higher rates of obesity, mental health issues, diabetes, cancer, and opioid addiction.” But the tie that also binds is the lack of high-speed broadband connectivity in low-income communities, too. Rural America, as you know, is facing a physician shortage and low-income and rural populations are less likely to have choice when it comes to broadband providers.
Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the agenda for the Federal Communications Commission's July 10 Open Meeting, which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out in a blog post on June 18, 2019. I'm traveling to New York this week; below is a shorter-than-usual weekly that takes a look at how Chairman Pai plans to take education out of the Educational Broadband Service -- and broadcast television.
The Benton Foundation unequivocally opposes any proposals from the Federal Communications Commission that would allow the FCC to shirk its responsibilities to meet its Congressionally-mandated mission. The FCC is supposed to ensure:
Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced a bill that would strip online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter of liability protections if their technology spreads misinformation about coronavirus vaccines or other public-health emergencies. Sen Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) joins Klobuchar as a co-sponsor.
At the start of the pandemic, a group of data scientists at Facebook held a meeting with executives to ask for resources to help measure the prevalence of misinformation about Covid-19 on the social network. The data scientists said figuring out how many Facebook users saw false or misleading information would be complex, perhaps taking a year a more, according to two people who participated in the meeting.
President Biden’s attack on Facebook followed months of mounting private frustration inside his administration over the social-media giant’s handling of vaccine misinformation, according to US officials, bringing into public view tensions that could complicate efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. The false narratives that Covid-19 vaccines result in widespread death and that the U.S.
Mayo Clinic Health System unveiled its new mobile health clinic on June 28th as a way to improve health care access for those in rural communities. The mobile clinic includes two exam rooms and an onsite laboratory bringing health care directly to patients, for in-person care or virtual care via the onsite telehealth equipment.