Work Plan Spotlight: What Does Internet Access Have to Do with Health?

Work Plan Spotlight: What Does Internet Access Have to Do with Health?

Mississippi will receive $1.2 billion from the federal government to expand broadband service to approximately 300,000 unserved locations across the state. This exciting development will create more opportunities for communities to get the care they need, through online health services like telehealth!

Benefits of Telehealth

The 2022 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP), developed after engaging more than 19,000 residents, public health professionals, and community partners across the state, lists telehealth as a major resource for improving preventative health access in Mississippi. 

That’s because telehealth, defined in the SHIP as “the use of technology to deliver personal health information and services”, connects families to resources like telemedicine, online therapy, healthcare resource directories, and health education that make it easy to get care. It’s more effective to prevent a health crisis from occurring than it is to treat it once it’s happened. 

Social Determinants of Health

The 2022 SHIP organizes its work into two big categories: reducing obesity & chronic disease and improving social determinants of health. The social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions and environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. 

In rural areas of the state, where residents are more likely to need treatment and preventative care for chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, broadband expansion couldn’t come sooner. Right now, nearly 20% (18.1%) of households in the Mississippi Delta have no access to broadband. As internet access becomes more available, so will telehealth services that work to improve health outcomes in these areas. 

Our Goals

As the state closes the digital divide, we will utilize our network and partnerships to provide information on telehealth services as they become more available. Our goal is to increase the use of telehealth by at least 10% in the next five years in order to improve health outcomes in our state. We’re connecting organizations like the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Rural Health Association to help make that happen.

Click here to learn more about the latest State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) and how you can help improve our state’s health. Then, show us how you’re improving community health by sending us your success story! Visit to get started.