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The L.A.U.N.C.H. team has published several articles in academic publications as well as a Think Tank Summary, highlighting the work of the public-private collaboration.

The 2016 President’s Cancer Panel called for projects focusing on improving cancer symptom management using connected health technologies (broadband and telecommunications). However, rural communities, like those in Appalachia, may experience a “double burden” of high cancer rates and lower rates of broadband access and adoption necessary for connected health solutions. The purpose of this review was to better understand the current landscape of connected health in the management of cancer symptoms in rural America. The review identified a need to engage rural stakeholders to develop and test connected cancer symptom management solutions that are based on advanced mobile and broadband Internet technologies.

Experiencing Cancer in Appalachian Kentucky – Preface
(Journal of Appalachian Health, July 2020)

Connected cancer care is of increasing importance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health (L.A.U.N.C.H.) Collaborative in Appalachian Kentucky has pioneered a new roadmap for equipping communities with the transformative power of broadband to innovate around the future of cancer care and to better scale their ideas. The roadmap involves reaching across disciplines, including public health, anthropology, telecommunications, and user-centered design. The goal is to leverage connectivity and cancer communication research and practice to make a real difference for patients and families.

Experiencing Cancer in Appalachian Kentucky
(Journal of Appalachian Health, July 2020)

Nothing tells the story of people working together better than a community quilt. A diversity of talents, colors, and materials brought together through skill and shared purpose. Perhaps never before have we as Americans needed a stronger reminder that many hands make short work of big problems. The work presented here by the L.A.U.N.C.H. Collaborative offers a new framework for health care that could be compared to a digital quilt, powered by community-based participatory design, with lived expertise and the newest advances in broadband-enabled connected health solutions. This work demonstrates the value and need to engage local communities and what can be learned when beneficiaries and traditional caregivers work together to develop healthcare solution

Barn-Raising on the Digital Frontier: The L.A.U.N.C.H. Collaborative
(Journal of Appalachian Health, January 2020)

This paper, published in the January 2020 issue of the Journal of Appalachian Health, highlights this research and the work of the L.A.U.N.C.H. Collaborative. A meta-analysis of oncology papers from around the world revealed that cancer patients who lived more than 50 miles away from hospital centers routinely presented with more advanced stages of disease at diagnosis, exhibited lower adherence to prescribed treatments, presented with poorer diagnoses, and reported a lower quality of life than patients who lived nearer to care facilities. Connected health approaches—or the use of broadband and telecommunications technologies to evaluate, diagnose, and monitor patients beyond the clinic—are becoming an indispensable tool in medicine to overcome the obstacle of distance.

Introducing the L.A.U.N.C.H. Collaborative
(Journal of Appalachian Health, January 2020)

The L.A.U.N.C.H. Collaborative: Linking & Amplifying User-Centered Networks through Connected Health: A Demonstration of Broadband-Enabled Connected Health and Community-Based Co-Design brings together a group of organizations that are eager to use Appalachian Kentucky as a site for the development of a project aimed at creating an environment that addresses two of the nation’s major concerns about cancer. First, individuals who live in rural and remote areas are more likely to die of cancer than those who live in urban or suburban settings. And second, geographic obstacles hinder their ability to access evidence-based strategies that can prevent cancer or treat it once it is diagnosed.

Role of the Internet in Solving the Last Mile Problem in Medicine
(Journal of Medical Internet Research, October 2019)

Internet-augmented medicine has a strong role to play in ensuring that all populations benefit equally from discoveries in the medical sciences. Yet, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected from 1999 to 2014 suggested that during the first phase of internet diffusion, progress against mortality has stalled, and in some cases, receded in rural areas that are traditionally underserved by medical and broadband resources. This problem of failing to extend the benefits of extant medical knowledge equitably to all populations regardless of geography can be framed as the “last mile problem in health care.”

In theory, the internet should help solve the last mile problem by making the best knowledge in the world available to everyone worldwide at a low cost and no delay. In practice, the antiquated supply chains of industrial age medicine have been slow to yield to the accelerative forces of evolving internet capacity. This failure is exacerbated by the expanding digital divide, preventing residents of isolated, geographically distant communities from taking full advantage of the digital health revolution. The result, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Connect2Health Task Force, is the unanticipated emergence of “double burden counties,” ie, counties for which the mortality burden is high while broadband access is low. The good news is that a convergence of trends in internet-enabled health care is putting medicine within striking distance of solving the last mile problem both in the United States and globally. Specific trends to monitor over the next 25 years include (1) using community-driven approaches to bridge the digital divide, (2) addressing structural disconnects in care through P4 Medicine, (3) meeting patients at “point-of-need,” (4) ensuring that no one is left behind through population management, and (5) self-correcting cybernetically through the learning health care system.

Senior Leadership Think Tank Summary
(FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force, Summer 2019)

The Federal Communications Commission's Connect2Health Task Force and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health convened a groundbreaking meeting at FCC headquarters in Washington, DC, with senior thought leaders from both the public and private sectors and across the country. The broad expertise included representatives from government, academia, industry, healthcare systems, public health, biotechnology, design and innovation, and telecommunications.