FCC Seeks Comment Regarding Role of Broadband Connectivity for Improving Maternal Health

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a comprehensive inquiry designed to explore ways the Commission’s Mapping Broadband Health in America platform could be expanded and enhanced to help better leverage digital health tools to improve maternal care.

The FCC’s “Mapping Broadband Health in America platform” is a tool designed to facilitate data-driven decision making at the intersection of broadband and health, and provides access to

information that can help drive broadband health policies and solutions.

The FCC has recently updated this platform to reflect certain maternal health data, in response to the Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act, which became effective on December 20, 2022.

Today, the mapping platform can be used to generate customized maps and to view the intersection or relationship of broadband connectivity, maternal health outcomes, and

selected risk factors in a number of ways, enabling more efficient, data-driven decisions.

FCC Comment Period Open

  • Initial Comments Due: November 20, 2023
  • Reply Comments Due: December 19, 2023

Now, in a Notice of Inquiry the FCC seeks comment from any interested parties on many topics including the following:

  • Current uses of broadband-enabled health technologies, solutions, and services that are available and being used in maternal health care, as well as the range of barriers that prevent access and utilization by childbearing women or women receiving postpartum care. Some examples of specific topics include for example:
    • The extent to which telehealth, particularly the use of real-time and delayed video conferencing for a wide range of telemedicine services and remote patient monitoring, are being used in maternity care
    • The efficacy of broadband-enabled technologies, solutions, and services used for maternal care.
    • Whether and how broadband-enabled health tools can be used to address the widening disparities—in terms of race, income levels, and rurality—in maternal health outcomes.
  • Potential additional actions or activities the Commission could pursue to help improve maternal health outcomes; to reduce maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity rates; and to promote maternal health equity.
  • Ideas for further improving the broadband health mapping platform, by incorporating additional maternal health variables, data, and functionalities.

“…most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable and … access to broadband-enabled health technologies, solutions, and services, such as telehealth, can be useful in preventing maternal deaths and improving maternal health.”
                                                                                                                                                                         FCC Notice of Inquiry rel. 10/20/23 

For any questions regarding this Notice of Inquiry or the FCC’s role with respect to health care matters, please contact Jeffrey Rummel or the ArentFox Schiff attorney who handles your matters.


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