Leroy Jones, Jr. is the creator of Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.

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Memorial Day 2014

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@TechnicalJones: African Americans, Jobs and the Internet

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Joint Center Report 2013: African Americans, Jobs and the Internet


The Internet is quickly becoming the indispensable tool for millions of Americans seeking a better job - or any job. 


Following up on my initial blog post yesterday morning, that's the inescapable conclusion of a new report the Joint Center published this week about the Internet and employment.  This jobs-Internet connection was also the focus of this morning's Joint Center panel discussion featuring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and the Joint Center's John Horrigan, who analyzed the survey data and authored the report.


As Commissioner Clyburn said at the outset of her remarks, broadband access, which is the enabler of new technologies, is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity.  Commenting on the survey's conclusions, she also emphasized the FCC's role in promoting more - and more affordable - broadband access.


Dr. Horrigan discussed the report's findings at length, relating it to other data concerning broadband adoption and use.  As he noted, African-Americans in particular seem to be interested in more than just search engines.  They are increasingly using social networking to expand their network of job contacts and improve the probability of finding out about job opportunities.


The Joint Center's report is based on a survey of 1,600 Americans concerning their use of wired and mobile broadband, particularly in researching employment opportunities.  Among the survey's most important conclusions: African Americans are more likely than other segments of the population to use the Internet to seek and apply for employment.  They are more likely to consider the Internet "very important" to the success of their job search.


Also speaking at yesterday's panel discussion were Chanelle Hardy from the National Urban League, AT&T's Ramona Carlow, Zack Leverenz, CEO of Connect2Compete, and Jason Llorenz of the Latino Information Network at Rutgers University.


Overall, this was a great event and the Joint Center is extremely proud of Dr. Horrigan's report and the important issues it raises.  As he said toward the end of the session: digital skills are important, so investing in digital skills can help expand opportunity for all- and for African-Americans in particular.


It is important that government and industry continue to work with communities across the country to support digital literacy programs and that that commitment go hand-in-hand with public and private sector investment in high-speed broadband to every corner of America.


Leroy Jones, Jr.


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@TechnicalJones: The Internet & Jobs

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Joint Center Report: The Internet's Importance in Finding a Job Is Bigger Than You Think


Today, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released a report on broadband and jobs that will help the African American community by informing the discussion of Internet access and its value for those in our community searching for jobs.  Earlier this year, the Joint Center asked 1,600 Americans about their methods for job searches.  This report reveals that African Americans were much more likely to find valuable job information online.  They were also more likely to use social media and mobile devices as part of their job searches.  


Specifically, fully half (50%) of African American Internet users said the Internet was "very important" to them in finding a job.  That's significantly higher than the 36% average.


The survey results also showed that 36% of African Americans said they applied for a job online the last time they were on the job market, compared with 26% for all respondents.


Smartphones were an especially important part of the job search process for African Americans, as nearly half (47%) used their smartphone for job search.  By comparison, slightly more than a third (36%) of Latinos used their smartphone for job search and about a quarter of whites (24%) did so.


The most recent federal unemployment figures show the continuing importance of helping people find work.  The Labor Department's latest data shows that in September, the U.S. unemployment rate declined slightly to 7.2 percent. That figure masks both good and disappointing news.  The good news is that the unemployment rate for African-American women aged 20+ is at 10 percent, the lowest rate since March 2009.  The bad news: Overall black unemployment is still a dismal 12.9%.


For federal officials, particularly at the FCC, this report offers clear and decisive proof that those with Internet access have markedly better opportunities and are more empowered to find employment than those who do not.  This includes using the Internet to increase knowledge about different jobs and industries, finding specific jobs, and completing the application process. 


On Monday, President Obama-appointee Tom Wheeler officially became FCC Chairman, and he appears poised to move quickly to tackle important policy issues.  One of these critically important issues is likely to involve wireless spectrum auctions.  One very important aspect is a fact that was borne out by the Joint Center's report -- smartphone and mobile broadband use.  As consumers surge in adopting mobile broadband options, wireless carriers must be allowed to compete in this auction without restrictions for the spectrum they need.  That will be the best and quickest way to expand wireless broadband access, and to ensure that the innovative and creative mobile job opportunities continue to be met.


Beyond that, the report shows that programs to improve digital literacy and skills bring substantial benefits to the African American community.  This reinforces one of the key conclusions of President Obama's 2010 National Broadband Plan.  That document called for community based education to help Americans not already online understand the basics of the Internet, including using it to find employment.


There is no silver bullet that will magically bring down African American unemployment.  But as the report demonstrates, the expansion of Internet access choices - especially wireless broadband - brings with it great and immediate benefits throughout the African American community.

Leroy Jones, Jr. 


@TechnicalJones: Memorial Day 2013

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@TechnicalJones: Broadband and mHealth

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High-Speed Broadband Access, Mobile Apps Offer Hope for Improved Health Equity
People of color continue to suffer disproportionately from many diseases and chronic health conditions, many of which are preventable.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated April as National Minority Health Month in an effort to raise awareness and prompt solutions to this problem.   
These health disparities are a very real problem. They can contribute to shorter life spans, reduced quality of life, higher health care costs for people of color and increased pressure points on the US health care system.  Factors contributing to health disparities are numerous and complex, but expanded access to high speed broadband and advances in Internet-based technologies and services have the potential to remove many of the barriers that prevent our communities from accessing quality care.      
For example, African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, as compared with non-Hispanic whites, and they are more likely to suffer from diabetes complications like renal failure. The increase in diabetes diagnoses and the growing demand for mobile apps have resulted in the development of many mHealth apps for diabetes patients.

These apps can help people with diabetes monitor their blood glucose and track nutrition and activity levels, which can help prevent complications and improve overall wellness.  For many people, the ability to take charge of their own health is empowering, and more mobile apps for diabetes are on the horizon.  
Other innovations in health care technology have made a positive impact on our communities as well. Wireless, in-home health monitoring devices can improve health outcomes for people with chronic conditions, and their use is steadily on the rise. These monitors can collect and send health data, including blood glucose, blood pressure, and respiratory rates, directly to medical professionals.

Smart devices allow patients with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and heart disease to work with medical personnel to monitor their condition while remaining in their home, without the inconvenience of traveling to appointments. 
Heart disease--and risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity--also affects the African American community at a disproportionately high rate.  African Americans are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white males.  The Office of Minority Health also reports that 34 percent of African Americans have hypertension, compared with 24 percent of whites. 
These facts are sobering, but innovations in health technologies and expanded access to high-speed broadband offer hope and the possibility that we can overcome these statistics.  A variety of mobile apps are available to help people assess their heart disease risk, monitor sodium and caloric intake, quit smoking, track physical activity, and even determine heart rate.

These broadband powered mobile apps, along with other wireless technologies, have empowered those with heart disease (or accompanying risk factors) to take charge of their health and to work with medical professionals to achieve improved wellness, health, and quality of life.
Advances in these broadband-enabled health innovations, including telemedicine and mHealth, have helped many patients and families assess and reduce their health risks, leading to more vibrant lifestyles and an enhanced quality of life.  For communities of color, it is especially urgent that we increase broadband deployment to enhance the availability of these technologies and health tools, as well as encourage the development of new ones.  
Upgrading America's communications infrastructure to all high-speed broadband networks is a critical step.  Accelerating the transition to modern, lightning-fast broadband networks will bring expanded access and greater technological capabilities to our entire country.  An all-broadband network in the United States can support the services, speeds, and technologies of the future, and they will further advance innovation in mHealth and other health tools.
The theme of this year's National Minority Health Month is "Advance Health Equity Now."  It's a lofty goal, but not an impossible one.  Today's health technologies are already making a positive impact, and tomorrow's technologies promise even greater results.

Expanded and enhanced high-speed broadband networks will fuel more innovations that can help this goal become a reality for America's minority communities. Private investment and government policies that help accelerate broadband deployment to more of America will help improve people's access to online health tools and empower all consumers to actively take steps to improve their lives and lead healthier lifestyles.


@TechnicalJones: mRx

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The brave new world of mHealth:

@TechnicalJones: Memorial Day 2012

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@TechnicalJones: "5 mHealth Questions" for Diversinet

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5 mHealth Questions

Diversinet (@Diversinet)

Would you please provide an overview of your company?

Diversinet is a mobile technology company with a platform to connect and protect the last mile of patient engagement.  The company's vision is to become the leader in mobilizing care coordination. Its mission is to enable care coordination through patient engagement using its patented, proven, healthcare-specific mobile technology and its expertise in mobile security.

Its MobiSecure® technology enables healthcare payers and providers, pharmaceutical companies, application developers and other healthcare organizations to enhance care coordination, while meeting all security requirements and supporting all major mobile devices and operating systems.

Diversinet was founded in 1997 and focused on secure mobile healthcare since 2009, Diversinet has invested $60 million in its award-winning technology and built a substantial patent portfolio.

What products/services does your company offer?

   1.  Care Coordination Engine: A mobile application development tool set with a flexible content management framework designed for secure patient engagement and two-way communication. The Care Coordination Engine enables secure, real-time communication and management of critical personal health information. Distinguishing factors include built-in advanced security features; configure once-deploy many capability spanning multiple platforms; support of smartphones, feature phones and tablets; flexible questionnaire and survey tools; and extensive ability to audit and track who does what with messages.

   2.  MobiSecure Software Development Kits (SDKs): A set of mobile and Web application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable customers to build custom mobile applications on top of existing apps, across multiple platforms. These SDKs provide sophisticated security features, including encryption and OATH-standards-based one-time passwords for strong authentication.

How does it work (i.e., does it work on mobile devices, cloud-based, etc., and can it be used to provide services outside of urban areas)?

The MobiSecure platform is compatible with all major mobile devices and operating systems.  It supports mHealth applications used to provide services outside urban areas, wherever mobile coverage is provided.


What are the health benefits of your products/services?

Diversinet products and services are designed to help healthcare organizations rapidly mobilize care coordination and patient engagement - key transitional trends necessary to improve service and outcomes, as well as reduce costs.  

Working with its partners in the healthcare ecosystem, Diversinet provides solutions that help healthcare organizations connect and protect patient health data in the last mile.

What do you think needs to be done to reform healthcare in the U.S.?

With chronic diseases accounting for $3 of every $4 spent on healthcare, the U.S. healthcare system needs to shift from episodic care to team-based patient engagement and care coordination. This trend will improve care quality and outcomes, as well as reduce costs.  Mobility is critical to accelerating this transformation.

Technological advances and adoption of mobile devices represent a significant opportunity for the healthcare community to empower and activate patients.  However, healthcare organizations will need to overcome many challenges, including security issues, regulation and standards, and rapidly changing and fragmented mobile environments.

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@TechnicalJones: "5 mHealth Questions" for Independa (@Independa)

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5 mHealth Questions


Would you please provide an overview of your company?
Independa offers easy-to-use, comprehensive telecare solutions for the independent elderly. Independa's best-of-breed Integrated CloudCare services enable organizations and individuals to cost-effectively help older adults remain independent longer, more safely and more comfortably.

The company, recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, provides services including medication and appointment reminders, support for activities of daily living, social engagement opportunities, and wireless health and safety monitoring.

Knowing how care recipients are doing in real time enables remote caregivers to serve more people, gain peace of mind and intervene if necessary.

What products/services does your company offer?
Caregiver Web App: Caregivers use this cloud-based app to set up automatic reminders for the elderly of such important events as medical appointments, birthdays, planned visits and social engagements, as well as receive alerts if something may be amiss.

Reminders may be sent by phone or email, or delivered visually. All information is consolidated to form a complete health view. The Caregiver Web App also enables the elderly to conveniently record their memories by phone.  

Angela™: The Independa Angela social engagement solution, synched with the Caregiver Web App, provides a single point of communication for care receivers to help ward off social isolation.

Running on a touchscreen tablet or a computer, and coming soon to LG televisions in senior living facilities, Angela provides one-touch access to medication and calendar reminders, video chats, email, the Internet, photos, social media, games, puzzles and other interactive content. Care receivers don't need to be able to use a general-purpose computer. Angela also offers larger screen fonts, higher contrast and brighter colors geared to the needs of the elderly.

Artemis™: Artemis, also integrated with the Caregiver Web App, will help caregivers remotely monitor care recipients through such wireless biotelemetry devices as a scale, blood pressure cuff, glucometer and pulse oximeter, as well as safety and environmental sensors that can detect motion, pressure, flooding, room temperature, smoke, carbon monoxide and other conditions. Artemis is scheduled for general availability in the second quarter of 2012.

How does it work? 
The cloud-based Caregiver Web App may be accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, or a tablet. It can send alerts via a landline or wireless phone or Angela.

This app combines various kinds of information from diverse sources. The Health Measures feature, which enables health data to be phoned in, is particularly helpful for the elderly in rural areas and elsewhere who do not have a wireless infrastructure or wireless devices.

Angela provides an easy-to-use and fun single point of communication for care recipients. It is managed through the Independa Caregiver Web App.

Artemis connects sensors to monitor vital signs, safety and home conditions to the Independa cloud, via a wireless hub.

What are the health benefits of your products?
Independa enables professional caregivers (e.g., home care, home health and senior living professionals) to expand their scope of services and care for more people, more cost-effectively.

Having a one-stop shop for a comprehensive array of telecare services saves time and money for professional caregiving organizations and family members.

As a result, the elderly can live healthier, happier lives while remaining independent, which means avoiding high-cost, less-preferred institutional care. For example, medication reminders help prevent falls, and those reminders as well as remote monitoring reduce hospital admissions and loss of independence.

Independa telecare provides peace of mind for all involved - the elderly, their professional caregivers and their family members. 

What do you think needs to be done to reform healthcare in the U.S.?
We need to move from the current "sick care" system to a focus on wellness and preventive healthcare.

We need to do a better job of managing chronic conditions. Telecare can address these issues.

We also need to move toward more reimbursement for older-adult care and shift from private care to reimbursed care.

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