Telehealth has untapped potential to improve care in poor neighborhoods.

  • Amelia Papadimitriou is studying to be a doctor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Nicky Joseph and David Velasquez are studying medicine at Harvard Medical School.
  • They outline a pilot program that uses health care interactions to help poor patients get access to the internet.
  • Link Health not only helps patients get digital access, it can help them utilize telehealth services.

The United Nations declared access to the internet as a human right in the summer of 2016, cementing the importance of the internet across the world for all people. Despite this, the United States lags much behind the developed world in granting easy access to the internet for traditionally marginalized populations, ranging from populations of color in poorer parts of major cities to individuals living in rural locales around the nation.

In Milwaukee, one of the most segregated US cities, neighborhoods that have historically been subject to discriminatory redlining and systemic disinvestment are more likely to not have access to the internet and when they do, receive poorer quality connectivity. US census data shows that about 27% of people in Milwaukee don’t have internet in their households. According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, 13% of Black residents have no computers compared to 8.3% of Hispanics and only 8% of white residents.

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