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FCC Evaluates Rural Health Broadband Efforts

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 15, 2012

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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1 comments on "FCC Evaluates Rural Health Broadband Efforts"


David Hold (8/16/2012 at 9:52 AM)
.I am reading with great interest the comments that you have made on the FCC study in reference to broad band. although i do agree that broad band is a good development in the development of rural health delivery, I find it ridiculous to classify it as the most important aspect of the delivery of good health care in this areas. To a certain extend the telephone carriers have brainwashed us to this notion so the development of this infrastructure can be paid for by the taxpayers for their benefit. Matter of fact a recent study of one of the universities has shown how ridiculous this concept is, considering that this little hospitals do not have the financial ability to pay for the sophisticated diagnostic equipments that this theory calls for. There are more efficient and economically feasible systems that can accomplish better health care in the rural area with the existing infrastructure and that is "preventive healthcare " where the patient can be monitored for the conditions that create complications and use the regional big hospitals to address this issues before it gets critical