FCC Evaluates Rural Health Broadband Efforts
The FCC awarded the $418 million to 69 rural projects, giving the providers one-time funding to cover 85% of the cost of construction and deployment of broadband networks to providers in urban areas. The pilot now supports 50 projects in 38 states, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The information gleaned from the pilot project will be used to shape the permanent RHC program.
Not surprisingly, the report found that broadband healthcare networks and telemedicine "improve the quality and reduce the cost of delivering healthcare in rural areas…. In addition to delivering needed medical care to patients in remote locations, telemedicine lowers the cost of providing healthcare, reduces travel time and expense for patients, providers and doctors, and brings needed revenue to endangered rural clinics and hospitals. Broadband networks also facilitate other important telehealth applications—such as the transmission of medical images, exchange of electronic health records, remote consultations with specialists, and training of rural medical personnel."
This is not news. All of this makes perfect sense and for the most part the FCC is stating the obvious. There are large parts of this report that can be skimmed over. Most readers will find that the more interesting findings were about what works.
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