Health Information Technology

Shave and a Haircut – and Teleheath

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.

Engagement on Equity: Connectivity and the Future of Healthcare

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.

A Preview of the FCC's July Open Meeting: Taking the "E" Out of EBS and TV

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.

Why is the FCC Talking about a USF Cap?

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:

Closing the Digital Divide Benefits Everyone, Not Just the Unconnected

Institutions that provide essential services, including education, health care, government functions, and the workforce, have a duty to make their services universally accessible. But because of the persistence of the digital divide, these institutions cannot fully integrate and modernize internet-based technologies into their services; doing so would effectively deny service to people who cannot adequately access the internet. As a result, institutions have been unable to fully leverage the benefits of technology to make their services even more effective, efficient, and innovative.

The VA used supplemental COVID funding from three different bills to support expanded telehealth services and remote operations during the worst of the pandemic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) received approximately $36.70 billion in supplemental funding outside of its annual appropriation from three COVID-19 relief laws between 2020 and 2021: the CARES Act; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA); and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). As of August 23, 2022, VA had obligated approximately 99 percent of its funds from the CARES Act and FFCRA and 56.9 percent of funds from ARPA.

FCC Partners With The Department Of Veterans Affairs To Facilitate Veterans' Access To The Affordable Connectivity And Lifeline Programs

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a database connection with the Veterans Benefits Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to make it easier for veterans to sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline. The connection will enable automatic eligibility verification of Veterans receiving qualifying pension benefits.

Notice of Request for Broadband Project and Planning Proposals

The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board is requesting proposals from eligible entities on broadband infrastructure needs across the state of Idaho. This information will be submitted in the form of a broadband infrastructure or planning project proposal. Eligible entities include:

Telemedicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2021

Telemedicine is a way for health care providers to deliver clinical health care to patients remotely through a computer or telephone, without an in-person office visit. The demonstrated benefits of telemedicine include improved access to care, convenience, and slowing the spread of infection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation expanded coverage for telemedicine healthcare services. Key findings from this research include the following: 

The Critical Role of Web Accessibility in Health Information Access, Understanding, and Use

Older adults and people with disabilities cannot equitably access the same health information and care as people without disabilities when hospital websites are not accessible. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) found the following key insights relating to digital accessibility and its importance to older Americans:

  • Hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. need continuing education on the role of web accessibility in American Disability Act (ADA) compliance given the significance of newly issued federal guidance.