Healthcare Facilities

The Future of Universal Service is Still in the Future

When it comes to broadband, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is about more than money. For example, Congress also directed the Federal Communications Commission to consider the impact of the law's $65 billion broadband investment on the FCC's existing broadband support programs under the umbrella of the Universal Service Fund (known to wonks as the USF).

USForward: FCC Must Reform USF Contributions Now - An Analysis of the Options

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF or Fund) has been one of the nation’s most important tools for connecting our nation, including rural communities, low-income families, schools, libraries, and rural health care facilities. However, the funding mechanism that supports the Fund is under significant duress. The “contribution base” – the revenues used to calculate USF contributions – has declined 63% in the last two decades, from $79.9 billion in 2001 to $29.6 billion in 2021.

Broadband for America Now

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).

From Places to People—Connecting Individuals to Community Anchor Institutions

Policymakers should help enable community anchor institutions to connect to their users wherever they are. Policymakers should recognize that the mission of community anchor institutions is to improve lives. Broadband is a key element in fulfilling that mission. Baltimore’s public school system has created a classroom in a community center to offer training in internet access. Librarians note that the provision of skills training is a natural fit with the historic missions of their institutions—offering a trusted space in which people of all ages can learn in the ways that best suit them.

Supporting the Increasingly Important Missions of Community Anchor Institutions

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.

Maine broadband agency proposes 530-mile 'MOOSE Net' fiber network

A partnership led by the Maine Connectivity Authority is seeking to build a 530-million "middle-mile" fiber broadband network that would serve tens of thousands of residents and businesses across the state. Middle-mile infrastructure is the regional fiber optic infrastructure made up of high-capacity fiber that carries large amounts of data at high speeds over long distances and between various elements of telecommunications infrastructure. The network would encompass 131 communities, representing over 11,000 unserved residents and local businesses.

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.

Changing Our (Virtual) Reality: Telehealth and the US Maternal Health Crisis

As society works to address the systemic barriers that contribute to the maternal health crisis, it is important to recognize the role that telehealth could play in improving the United States’ maternal health outcomes. Policymakers should take the following into consideration: 

Why healthcare industry leaders need to prioritize digital equity

Healthcare is facing a new frontier, as the industry has seen a boom in digital health tools and technologies on both the patient and provider side. An explosion of health dat has also been driving increasingly sophisticated predictive and prescriptive insights into individuals and populations. Unfortunately, this frontier has proven to be hostile to marginalized communities. There is a growing digital divide, where healthcare technology has actually posed challenges, instead of benefits.