Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Karen Mossberger at City Club June 28

OneCommunity's new broadband speakers series at the Cleveland City Club will kick off June 28 with Dr. Karen Mossberger, one of the lead researchers on our October 2012 Cuyahoga County Survey of Internet Access and Use.

Dr. Mossberger, who chairs the Department of Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago, partnered on the Cuyahoga County study with Dr. Caroline Tolbert of the University of Iowa, a frequent collaborator.  The two are co-authors of several pioneering books on digital divide issues including the recent Digital Cities: The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Study: Low-income patients want online links to health providers

From EHR Intelligence, February 28 ("EHR" means "electronic health records"):

71% of safety net patients want email, texts, and portals

A large majority of low income, underserved, and safety net patients want to communicate with their providers using email, text messaging, and online patient portals, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, but fewer than 20% actually do. “A significant majority of safety net patients currently use email, text messaging, and the internet, and they expressed an interest in using these tools for electronic communication with their medical providers,” wrote the authors. “This interest is currently unmet within safety net clinics that do not offer a patient portal or secure messaging.”
The study was conducted in San Francisco.  In Cleveland, most "safety net" providers (MetroHealth, Neighborhood Family Practice, NEON, Care Alliance, etc.) do offer online communication, scheduling, prescription renewal and records access to their patients -- most often in the form of an integrated application like MyChart.

But the usefulness of these services to low-income and elderly patients in greater Cleveland is severely limited by the fact that most of them don't have regular Internet access.

Here comes the digital divide in banking

The City of Cleveland is getting very concerned about losing neighborhood bank branches, as some big banks look to reduce costs by pushing ever bigger shares of their customer interactions on line. A recent survey conducted for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve is apparently being cited in the industry as evidence that the mobile Internet offers a better way to reach "the unbanked" with financial services than continued support for physical branches in poor communities.

At the City's invitation, Samantha Cycyk and I spoke yesterday to a gathering of neighborhood development organization staff about the results of OneCommunity's recent Cuyahoga County Broadband Inclusion Survey. Samantha put together a presentation outlining the large number of Cleveland residents -- especially older and lower-income residents -- who still have no regular access to the Internet, as well as the very limited impact of mobile Net access on Clevelanders who are otherwise unconnected.  The point being, of course:  When more than 40% of adults in the city don't have home broadband, and more than a third don't have either home broadband or mobile Internet access, how do you swap a local branch for a web page without cutting off access for a lot of current and potential customers?

Here's the presentation (in PDF format, click to open):

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

No Internet chops, no fast food job

At this evening's opening reception for Getting to Gigabit I had a conversation with Deb Socia, who runs the terrific Technology Goes Home program in Boston.  I told Deb about the Ohio General Assembly's apparent determination to require people on unemployment comp to register and do other tasks at the OhioMeansJobs website, whether or not they have the equipment and skills to do so.

Deb told me about the following exchange she recently witnessed at the counter of a Panera:
Guy in front of her in line:  "Can I fill out an application for a job here?"
Panera employee:  "Sorry, you have to apply on line."
Guy in front of her in line: "But I don't know how to use the Internet."
Panera employee: "If you can't use the Internet you can't work here."
Deb says she also heard pretty much the same exchange at a White Castle.

(Glassdoor reports that the wages of hourly Panera employees average less than $9.  They have a very small sample for White Castle but apparently a "team member" can make less than $8.) 

Getting to "Getting to Gigabit"

On the road today, heading for DC and the "Getting to Gigabit" conference put on by the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB, pronounced "shelby" not "schlub").

Friday morning I'm part of a panel on "Measuring Community Broadband Impact".   Till then: traveling, meeting, listening and possibly posting some of what I hear.