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Research Letter
July 29, 2019

Association Between Broadband Internet Availability and Telemedicine Use

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Hospital Administration, McLean Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia
  • 4Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(11):1580-1582. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2234

Access to health specialists is difficult for many individuals in rural communities.1 Telemedicine, health care service delivered remotely through telecommunications, is one potential solution, but its use varies across regions, potentially associated with the availability of high-speed internet (broadband) access.2 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress have emphasized the need to increase broadband access in rural communities, in part to facilitate the use of telemedicine, and the FCC’s Connect America Fund has set aside billions of dollars to subsidize broadband expansion.3 Our objective was to examine whether broadband availability in local communities is associated with telemedicine use.

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