GUEST COLUMN: Communication Act update could benefit people with HIV

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 05:48 PM.

The Sunshine State ranks third in the nation for cumulative number of AIDS cases, and it’s the third state for physician shortages.

Prevention and treatment are critical, and options are coming from what may initially seem like an unlikely place: mobile broadband-enabled devices like smartphones. 

In a recent study from Bank of America, nearly half of respondents said they couldn’t live without their smartphones, and over 90 percent said they are “very important.” 

Telemedicine enables remote face-to-face conversations between doctors and patients for treatment, nutritional guidance, and care management of HIV and AIDS. This technology helps patients receive treatment from their home or a private setting, which increases medical adherence, a critical component of treatment.

The number of people using mobile medical apps reportedly will reach 500 million by next year. HIV/AIDS-focused apps provide a range of features including medical information, reminders about appointments and medication, data tracking and pharmacy locations.

The AIDS Institute is leading an evaluation study to assess an app's ability to enhance patient adherence and better manage their disease. Assessing technology that can have a transformative impact on our patients is just one part of advancing and integrating technology into health care. 

However, laws that govern telemedicine are largely rooted in Depression-era monopoly phone regulations, last updated in 1996 — well before mobile apps even existed.

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