Of Medicine and Broadband

With services like bewell.com and americanwell.com popping up, it looks as if our interactions with doctors and medical professionals will increasingly take place on the Internet.

Whether its through the Facebook-like groups of BeWell (referred to as “expert-guided communities”), or through a web camera (i.e., the “virtual house call” pitched by American Well), the quality of a person’s Internet connection may one day soon have a meaningful impact on the quality of medical information that person receives.

These new interactive medical services follow the unveiling of other web-based health services from both Google and Microsoft.

As health care services become increasingly web-based, the problem of the digital divide generally, and the broadband divide specifically, will become more acute.

This is an area where we could use some original thinking, and some fresh ideas. Public policy leaders need to step up on this one – it ain’t going to fix itself.