Speaking on behalf of independent hospitals that serve rural patients, Federal Communications Commission action that will increase rural access to broadband services is welcome news (“FCC seeks to further boost rural broadband,” Daily Dose, July 15). As our country faces escalating specialty physician shortages, rural areas can find themselves hardest hit. Bringing broadband to these areas allows for innovative telemedicine solutions.
Three years ago, seven independent Maryland hospitals came together to bring our rural patients medical expertise through broadband. Working together as Maryland eCare, we brought telemedicine to our intensive-care units. A remote, critical-care team more than a hundred miles away provides supplemental, specialized care and alleviates the stress placed on our critical-care staff working in the ICU.
Maryland eCare connects physicians, nurses and patients via voice, camera and data feeds, enabling our hospitals to provide the highest level of specialized care around the clock. Sophisticated software closely monitors patients for evolving trends and abnormalities fostering proactive care.
It gives our outstanding physicians and nurses needed support, and allows some of our sickest patients who previously required transfer to stay close to home where family can visit easily. Thomas Lawrence
Physician Maryland eCare Salisbury, Md.