Broadband & Health Care
Health Care Highlights
Broadband and health IT will transform health care, simultaneously enabling better outcomes and lowering costs. Electronic Health Records and Remote Monitoring technology could alone create over $700 B in net savings over 15-25 years. Yet in nearly every metric used to measure the adoption of health information technology (health IT), the United States ranks in the bottom half among comparable countries. The Federal government can do more to stimulate this rapidly-growing industry:
Ensure all health care providers have access to affordable broadband, by revamping the Rural Health Care Program
For rural clinics and small physician offices, mass market broadband infrastructure is often priced beyond their means or altogether insufficient to support their health IT needs. The National Broadband Plan recommends substantial changes to the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program, better utilizing authorized funding of $400 M per year to help meet these challenges. Among other changes, the recommendations will help health care providers purchase broadband services and expand the program to more institutions.
Upgrade Indian Health Services’ broadband network to meet their health IT needs
The Plan’s analysis uncovered a great need to improve Indian Health Services broadband infrastructure. It recommends spending $29 M per year to upgrade their network of providers.
Create the economic incentives for broader health IT adoption and innovation.
Improving broadband connectivity is necessary but does not close the health IT gap on its own. Providers need reimbursement for health IT and other economic incentives. The Plan applauds investments that Congress and HHS are making to incent the adoption of electronic health records, and supports a similar approach for e-care technologies.
Unlock the power of health care data and advanced analytics, while protecting privacy
Electronic health records will provide a treasure trove of useful data, which could transform medicine if fully unlocked and if patient privacy is fully protected. The Plan supports the next generation of interoperability and data access, suggesting ongoing actions by the federal government in enabling this space.
Modernize rules to increase access to e-care
Rules created in the 20th century are inhibiting some of the most effective practices of 21st century health care. The Plan recommends bolstering adoption of e-care technologies by revising licensing, privileging, and credentialing standards – which currently slow down physicians from practicing medicine remotely and across state lines.