Why Internet access is a ‘super’ determinant of health

Lacking internet access is about more than lacking access to doctors. Public health experts are beginning to study the impact of broadband internet access on the nation’s health, and have called it a “super-determinant of health.” Without internet access, people are unable to communicate freely with their physicians, to access electronic medical records, to research health conditions and treatment, or find resources for healthy behaviors and lifestyle changes. Through efforts by the Connect2Health Task Force, the FCC has developed a mapping tool that allows users to overlay facets of broadband availability (broadband access, rural access, download speed, upload speed, etc.) with health measures (diabetes, obesity, physician access, etc.). We anticipate that if the digital divide is not rectified, we will see a deepening of these health disparities.

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