FCC hopes broad­band can im­prove ‘health and care’

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Rachel Z. Arndt

The chance to tell the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion how it should en­cour­age the use of con­nected health­care tech­nol­ogy is draw­ing to a close. The com­ment pe­riod for ad­vis­ing the agency on broad­band-en­abled health­care ends on June 8.

The FCC’s Con­nec­t2Health task force is lead­ing the project, which has an over­ar­ch­ing goal of bring­ing broad­band and other ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies to health­care. The FCC is par­tic­u­larly fo­cused on ex­tend­ing ac­cess to such un­der­served pop­u­la­tions as peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, those who live in poverty and those in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. For in­stance, the agency hopes to build on its Map­ping Broad­band Health in Amer­ica plat­form, which shows the in­ter­play be­tween con­nec­tiv­ity and health. In the fu­ture, that plat­form might be used to forge part­ner­ships be­tween broad­band ser­vice providers and health­care providers.

This and other en­deav­ors will af­fect not just health­care, ac­cord­ing to the agency, but “health and care,” a dis­tinc­tion meant to high­light the va­ri­ety of peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions in­volved, in­clud­ing providers, pub­lic health work­ers, busi­ness lead­ers, aca­demics, re­searchers and oth­ers. In­deed, it will take a broad col­lec­tion of play­ers to change the role of broad­band tech­nolo­gies in health­care, which stand to im­prove the qual­ity of care through pop­u­la­tion health and pa­tient en­gage­ment and by ame­lio­rat­ing the physi­cian short­age.

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