AMIA Urges FCC to Consider Access to Broadband a Social Determinant of Health | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

AMIA Urges FCC to Consider Access to Broadband a Social Determinant of Health

May 25, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is calling on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) to support broadband-enabled health care delivery by bolstering its efforts to better target those with chronic conditions, and ensure that those populations have access to affordable broadband and broadband-enabled health technologies.

In a letter to the FCC, AMIA made recommendations on ways FCC can collaborate with other federal partners and highlighted potential focus areas for program development supporting broadband-enabled healthcare delivery.

The letter, written by AMIA president and CEO Doug Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., was in response to the FCC’s request for comment on the agency’s current approach to accelerating adoption and accessibility of broadband-enabled health care solutions and advanced technologies.

AMIA wrote that it strongly agrees with the FCC’s assertion that “health care is being transformed by the availability and accessibility of broadband-enabled services and technologies and the development of life-saving wireless medical devices.” And, the organization praised the agency’s deliberate focus on both “health and care to reflect and include the broad range of participants in the emerging broadband health ecosystem.”

“Thus, AMIA believes that access to broadband is, or soon will become, a social determinant of health. Social determinants of health are ‘the structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.’ They include factors such as socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as, access to health information and care via broadband-enabled technologies.”

Further, AMIA wrote, “We note that fully developed, fully operational national broadband service is necessary to ensure that Americans benefit from the electronic health infrastructure that was initiated with the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health(HITECH)Act, and supported by the 21st Century Cures Act. Hardware and software developments now permit implementation of such capabilities as electronic health records, technology-mediated public health monitoring and response, consumer-mediated health data exchange, and technology-enabled patient-reported outcomes measures. These and other technologies provide for improved outcomes at the individual and population levels and facilitate clinical efficiencies that offer the possibility of less costly and more cost-effective health care. “

AMIA stated that FCC has a critical role in ensuring that this infrastructure is both fully operational and fully implemented in every area of the country, and the agency should seek to do so alongside federal, state and local partners.

Specifically, AMIA recommends that FCC partner with federal and state/local agencies to leverage broadband-enabled health solutions and technologies against the opioid epidemic and align programs that can bolster efforts to better target individuals with chronic conditions and ensure that those patients have access to affordable broadband.

In addition, AMIA recommends that FCC examine other agency sources of administrative data, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to assess broadband-enabled health solutions capacity and needs.

And, AMIA suggested that FCC leverage the work done by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, also known as NSTIC, to ameliorate privacy and security concern in accessing health care-related information via public broadband.



Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.

Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.