Federal Communications Commission

Our Role in the Broadband Health Care Revolution

August 17th, 2010 by Thomas Buckley - Manager, Rural Health Care Pilot Program

Chairman Genachowski visited Seattle Children’s Hospital Friday to witness first-hand how broadband can help deliver quality health care efficiently to areas that lack it. Back in 2001, Seattle Children’s started a telemedicine program to provide better access to specialized pediatric care throughout the Pacific Northwest. The hospital also has been a leader in telepsychiatry, which is one of the most effective ways to increase access to psychiatric care for individuals living in underserved areas, according to the American Pychiatric Association. 

Broadband’s potentially transformative role in health care delivery was a major focus of the National Broadband Plan, and we are following through in many ways. We are in the midst of designing programs that would provide up to $400 million annually to support broadband networks capable of bringing high-quality health care to patients no matter where they live. We have gained valuable insight in how to support broadband-enabled health care through our existing Rural Health Care Pilot Program. The National Broadband Plan recommended creating a new program that will help build networks where they are lacking and provide ongoing support where there is a need for it. This is critical: up to 30 percent of rural clinics don’t have adequate broadband technology, and so can’t do things like offer remote video care, exchange MRIs and x-rays, or deliver health care records.
We want to engage the public in our reform process, and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing the changes is the vehicle for getting substantive comments and suggestions so we can adjust our proposals, as appropriate. Comments on these reform initiatives are due September 8th and reply comments are due September 23.
Beyond the Rural Health Care programs that I help oversee, the National Broadband Plan takes a comprehensive look at how broadband can play a role in the delivery of advanced health care. Following recommendations in the Plan, we have begun working with the FDA to streamline our review of wireless medical devices to provide more clarity for investors and innovators while protecting consumer safety. And within the Commission, there is a focus on freeing up more wireless spectrum, which can support devices that provide remote monitoring of a patient’s vital signs and let a doctor know, in real time, when a patient might be heading for trouble.
We’re glad the FCC can play a role in helping institutions like Seattle Children’s Hospital do the most important work there is: protecting the health and lives of all children, no matter where they live.

One Response to “Our Role in the Broadband Health Care Revolution”

  1. Ed Dodds says:

    Chairman Genachowski might like to investigate the HIMSS Medical Banking Project

Leave a Reply

Capture The Phone Numbers Using Your Camera Phone

If you have a camera and a 2D matrix code reader on your mobile phone, you can capture the FCC Phone numbers right to your phone by following these three easy steps:
Step 1: Take a photograph of one of the codes below using the camera on your mobile phone.
Step 2: Use your phone's Datamatrix or QR Code reader to decode the information on the photograph. Please note, these code readers are device specific and are available to download on the internet.
Step 3: Store the decoded address information to your phone's address book and use it with your Maps or GPS application.

Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones