Federal Communications Commission

Broadband Gaps in the Healthcare Sector

November 25th, 2009 by Mohit Kaushal - Digital Healthcare Director

Last week at the Commission meeting, the Broadband Taskforce outlined key gaps in broadband service that need to be addressed. There are connectivity gaps in the healthcare sector that I think are important and worth highlighting.

Hospitals and clinics need to empower a range of applications such as Electronic Health Records, Diagnostic imaging and Tele-radiology. There is a connectivity gap within healthcare.
Every day physicians have to treat patients, and their previous medical history is not available on the hospitals' local databases.
This is more common than not: it happens every time such a patient is brought into a hospital network that they haven't visited before. It can also occur when a patient visits their regular hospital but the site has misplaced their hand-written notes or hard copies of their imaging scans.
Today, those doctors are forced to act without the knowledge that a previous radiological scan would show them about the patients' baseline disease state. The technology exists so that they could pull up that diagnostic image in real time, from the imaging center where it was performed. But such technology requires a 100 mbps broadband connection -- a fiber connection -- which many hospitals lack.
Furthermore, the healthcare ecosystem must be more robust in order for broadband to really benefit healthcare outcomes and cost. Some things that would constitute a strong ecosystem include training and implementation assistance and even reimbursement considerations. Currently, telemedicine usage is hindered by state physician licensure and credentialing rules.
Finally, if broadband is going to further national priorities, incentives need to be aligned. A good example is that of reimbursement policy for telemedicine.


4 Responses to “Broadband Gaps in the Healthcare Sector”

  1. Guest says:

    This is untrue America does not want our medical records stored in one gov location. It is a major privacy violation and violates out 5th amd rights. It will be repealed so your just wasting money to install extra capacity to do it.

  2. Guest says:

    Do we have to respond to everything related to technology with such incredibly stupid responses in America?

    The whole point expressed here is that the information (records) are dispersed in systems that exist to the benefit the individual consumer of medical services, and that the individual can be better served when barriers to accessibility to the information, like physical proximity for example, can be overcome or eliminated.

    By doing this the benefits that are realized when the information is accessible due to proximity (is close by) can also be realized when the consumer of such services does things like move from place to place.

    Or in some cases when roaming from one mountain cave to another....

    Pardon my disrespect here; but is everyone in America, stuck on 'stupid'? I think the reality here is that we have a severe lack of technical understanding in America, coupled with the widely held belief that we are in fact technologically advanced. It comes through in the kinds of responses that are made on sites like this one. I think it is a real problem that should be addressed.

  3. Guest says:

    I don't think you can automatically apply your personal opinion to ALL people in Amercia. I personally do not want all my medical records stored by the gov in a central location. I guess if you don't mind everyone looking at your medical records...then go for it!! Just remember there are more things on those records other than medical records. You will be giving you Social Security to any one who is given permisson by our government to view your records. I have to reverse your comment, "I feel as though there are many people in America who are not stuck on stupid"...that only applies to people such as yourself who makes such statements about the people in the United States of America!!

  4. Guest says:

    I totally agree that America needs to take the next step in upgrading its healthcare infrastructure to meet today's demands. We have taken many leaps in technology and standardized many sectors of life in such ways that have benefited the public if not the world as a whole. We do need reform and do need to depend on technology in this day and age. The ones opposed to such idea (the lobbyists and such) are more than likely concerned about their personal benefit rather than the public. I say go for it Obama. Make it happen. There's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't better our living standards specially in one of the most important aspects of continued healthy living - Health Care. The system is corrupt as a whole and needs supervision - and I think besides electrolyzing medical records, this will lead to many advancements in the quality of care being given to patients and will ultimately raise the bar to much needed and awaited benefits.

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