The FCC Learns About!

The FCC Learns About!

I had the privilege of helping to organize a visit to Cleveland by the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect2Health Task Force earlier this week. The Task Force’s “Beyond the Beltway Series” is an opportunity for FCC Commissioners to understand and promote the “transformative power of broadband technologies and next-generation communications services to improve access to health care services regardless of geography, time, distance or socioeconomic factors.” The Commission recognizes that broadband access today is as essential as was telephone access 3 generations ago when a minimum telephone package was made available to all. Read the FCC’s summary of their visits to Cleveland and Detroit.

In inviting the group to Cleveland, I had hoped to focus their attention on ways that broadband can help improve health by focusing on community-level applications. Thus, I had the chance to speak at their Roundtable about, and to let them hear from some of the recent participants from the Cleveland Medical Hackathon who were involved in the Community Health & Wellness Track.

Among the other speakers, Cleveland Department of Public Health Director Toinette Parrilla spoke enthusiastically about how sharing their data with the Cleveland & Cuyahoga Health Resource helps further their mission. Vino Sundaram demonstrated “Community Health Pulse“–that overlays maps of calls to United Way 2-1-1- referral line with deaths investigated by the Office of the Medical Examiner. Adam Perzynski and Sarah Shick discussed the Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby Health Risk Assessment tool being developed in partnership with the Health Risk Assessment tool that’s link on our main page.

Adam was also invited to speak at the Task Force’s next stop in Detroit, today. He spoke both in Cleveland and Detroit about emerging inequalities being seen in use of personal health records associated with disparities in access to broadband services. Also included in the Detroit meeting was one of our new Steering Committee members, Silas Buchanan, speaking about broadband access as a new social determinant of health.

Bill Callahan provided riviting testimony about the poor state of connectivity in Cleveland, and the emerging inequality whereby neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of poverty have the lowest rates of household broadband access. See terrific graphics and data on Connect Your Community 2.0‘s website. The task force also has good graphics built off of the annual “477” survey that reveals the number of broadband connections available by census tract. Those data are also on, of course!

Follow the conversation on twitter as well #C2HFCC!

Following our nearly 3 hour session, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn gave a keynote address at the Cleveland Clinic’s 2015 Medical Innovation Summit, focused on the transformative role of connectivity in health.

You can find the Roundtable agenda and presentations here. And stay tuned for photos from the event.