Access to broadband is a health-y technology, according to Connected Nation, a non-profit organization with the mission of reducing the digital divide in America.
Their goal: to ensure access to broadband across Kentucky, one of the most rural states in the U.S. “Our work improves the lives of people who were once left behind; renews hope for rural communities; increases the number of high-tech companies and jobs; and nurtures an environment for lifetime learning, improved health care, and superior quality of life,” according to the organization’s progress report for 2007.
According to results gleaned from their project, Connected Kentucky, peoples’ access to broadband improves health care outcomes. Kentuckians with broadband were 53% more likely to use the Internet for health applications than the state average.
Overall, 72% of broadband subscribers say they’re more empowered health consumers due to their ability to get health information online.
Here’s the headline: people of all income levels take advantage of online health applications when they have broadband at home. Households with less than $35,000 are significantly less likely to access health care information online, as the table above illustrates. However, when people with lower household incomes have broadband at home, the income-driven disparity is nearly eliminated.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: There is a direct correlation between the penetration of broadband and economic impact. According to Connected Nation’s data, shown in the chart on the left, there is a huge payback in health cost savings when broadband is deployed. It’s time to quantify these kinds of interdependencies when we engage in discussions about health and technology. Vitamin B — for broadband — is one of the building blocks for a robust national health infrastructure in America.