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Connectivity: A Social Determinant of Health That Can Exacerbate All the Others

Image 1: Router in a living room / Image 2: Dr. Stephen K. Klasko

The first 2021 issue of Modern Healthcare carried an editorial by Dr. Stephen Klasko, President of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health, on the link between health and household internet connectivity. He said connectivity is a 21st-century “social determinant of health” and called for internet access to be treated as a utility like electricity and plumbing. Further, he argued that a lack of broadband access makes the other social determinants of health worse: It’s harder to participate in the digital health revolution, to gain education at every level, and even to apply for a job. It’s harder to get mental health services and access to wellness. It’s harder to reduce the cost of healthcare in America through connected care.

Dr. Klasko is a champion for the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance, a global initiative dedicated to internet inclusion.