An Ohio bill (H.B. 378) was recently referred to the House Finance Committee to create a state broadband development grant program. Broadband access is a critical determinant of health. Many patients and providers in rural and underserved areas lack access to quality broadband to realize the full potential of health information and technology, including telehealth and remote patient monitoring. Studies show this lack of access is negatively affecting both patients’ health status and clinicians’ ability to provide essential care. This is why widening quality, affordable broadband access is one of HIMSS’ 2017 Congressional Asks.
Relatedly, earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission has updated their Mapping Broadband in America platform. This platform allows users to visualize and overlay broadband and health data to understand the connections at the federal, state, and county levels. These maps focus on broadband’s connection to diabetes, obesity, physician shortage, among other critical topics.