Survey shows lack of rural broadband access equates to lack of access to health insurance and necessary medical care
Communicating for America (CA), a rural advocacy organization, has released a new study that correlates the lack of high-speed internet to the lack of health insurance coverage and access to health care. The survey, conducted in
Of those surveyed, 39% in urban and semi-urban areas said they had high-speed internet. The number dropped to 21% in rural areas. The study’s findings went on to show people without high-speed internet were significantly less likely to have health insurance (61% had coverage) compared to individuals that have broadband internet (88%). A similar disparity was shown in health care systems. Of those without broadband internet, only 5% have used low-cost telemedicine for medical treatment, whereas 22% of individuals with high-speed internet have used telemedicine in the past. In addition:
- People without access to broadband internet are significantly less likely to use online medical records (29%) than people who have broadband internet (59%).
- People without access to broadband internet are significantly less likely to schedule appointments online (17%) than people who do have broadband internet (36%).
Demographics of the survey participants also told the story of who is being affected by the lack of broadband access. The percentage of broadband users was over 40% male. Yet those without high-speed internet access was nearly 70% female. Individuals without broadband access were also likely to not own a computer (only 48% do) compared to those who have access to high-speed broadband and own a personal computer (92%).
According to the
“As more and more of our health care activities happen online, our main research question was, compared to people with high-speed, broadband internet, are those without broadband internet resources more likely to be uninsured? Are they less likely to use telemedicine? We found a gaping hole in access and equality,” said
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Source: Communicating for America