On Friday, July 17 Axios Login author Ina Fried hosted a conversation on how the coronavirus is hastening the shift to telemedicine and remote education, featuring Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman and Center for Connected Health Policy Executive Director Mei Kwong.
Rep. Grace Meng highlighted the impact of the digital divide on families and discussed efforts at the federal level to establish a $2 billion grant that would allow people to borrow devices and hot spots.
- On the challenges of digital equity in telehealth and remote education: "We're looking at larger issues of infrastructure. But what can we do now as soon as possible, without having to reinvent the wheel to get Americans access to the Internet so that they don't fall further behind and that they can stay healthy and get help if they need as soon as possible."
Mei Kwong discussed how coronavirus has brought telehealth to the forefront of national conversations on health and focused on the importance of having access to digitally enabled devices as well as broadband.
- How telehealth depends on connectivity as well as hardware: "Telehealth will not work unless you are able to connect. That's not only through broadband but also having the right type of equipment at the other end...That right equipment is either a smartphone or a laptop and not everybody has access to that. And also, you have folks who may not have powerful enough connectivity for them to facilitate a telehealth interaction."
Stand for Children CEO Jonah Edelman focused on the educational gap that has been exacerbated by the digital divide and stressed the importance of prioritizing connectivity in making sure students don't fall behind.
- "It's very clear that access to the internet needs to be treated as a fundamental right. And the basic need for multiple reasons, but certainly educationally."
Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf, who discussed the significance of the shift to 5G, the future of remote work and education, and why it matters.
- "The fundamental infrastructure of business will depend on 5G. And it's such a profound change. It's almost like when steam power went to electricity or we went to the computer for the first time."
Thank you Qualcomm for sponsoring this event.