Health Affairs Policy Brief: Pillars, Policies, And Plausible Pathways Linking Digital Inclusion And Health Equity

May 8, 2024

Health Affairs published a policy brief framing digital inclusion as a social determinant of health and explores its links to health equity. The resource noted the value of internet access for employment, social, and medical needs of older adults, veterans, and people with disabilities, with language barriers, or returning from incarceration. Yet, the brief states, these groups face unique combinations of barriers to internet access and use.

The policy makes a range of points that would be valuable to stakeholders working to advance digital equity through advocacy as well as pursuing grants or other funding support. The report also lays out ongoing efforts from the federal government to support broadband access, but stresses that continuing investment beyond the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s digital inclusion investments. This is especially true, according to the policy brief, given convincing research that shows pandemic-accelerated reliance on the internet for education, employment, and health is accentuating the inequality of opportunity for those who already face disadvantages because of their income, race and ethnicity, age, language, disability, or residential location.

Detailed information, other reports and data is included in the Health Affairs policy brief.