FCC Rural Healthcare Broadband Pilots Improve Care

Mary Mosquera | Government Health IT | August 15, 2012

Broadband networks for healthcare providers have proven that they can improve quality and lower the cost of care in rural area by reducing time to access critical and life-saving treatment and increasing resources to diagnose conditions.

By offering funds to providers to obtain broadband capacity, the Federal Communications Commission has accelerated the use of tele-medicine and tele-health applications in rural areas, bridging the time, expense and transportation gaps associated with travel to distant locations for patient care, according to an agency analysis.

Broadband networks can enable the transmission and sharing of medical images, electronic health records (EHRs) and remote consultations and training of rural medical personnel.
FCC established the rural healthcare pilot program in 2006 to support 50 projects in 38 states and territories. The $418 million program covers about 85 percent of the cost of construction and deployment of broadband networks that connect participating providers in rural and urban areas.