03-01-2013 08:21 AM - edited 03-14-2014 01:51 PM
As healthcare delivery models continue to change around the world - insert "telehealth". While the term itself is quite broad, it often leaves many healthcare information technology experts confused and really wondering what encompasses it's true value in today's patient-centered/accountable care models.
From teleradiology and telerehabilitation to remote home monitoring, these initiatives have captured the attention of healthcare providers, payers and even life-sciences as a way to better collaborate and connect their staff and solutions with patients.
I will be expanding on this trend very soon in our blog, but for now, our US-based friends should be aware of the below program that has been created to ramp adoption across our communities:
"The program builds on the agency’s Rural Healthcare pilot program. For years, the FCC's primary healthcare program has made it difficult for hospitals serving rural patients to get high bandwidth connections needed for modern telemedicine by limiting the services eligible for funding and by making it hard for groups to effectively bargain for the lowest cost service, the agency said.
The telehealth networks will link urban medical centers to rural clinics or offer instant access to (EHRs). The agency will begin accepting applications for the grants in late summer, according to the Jan. 7 announcement by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The FCC fund will offer a 65-percent discount on broadband services, equipment, connections to research and education networks, and provider-constructed and owned facilities if cost-effective. Healthcare providers will contribute 35 percent of the costs.
The Healthcare Connect Fund also permits health care providers (HCPs) to receive support for constructing and owning broadband infrastructure. The Healthcare Connect Fund encourages HCPs to organize into consortia to reap the benefits of network participation, including higher bandwidth and better quality connections at lower rates than those generally available to individual HCPs."