Pai on Broadband Access and Spectrum for Healthcare
Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:January
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI
ON HEALTH CARE TECHNOLOGY PRESENTATIONThis afternoon, I look forward to attending the telemedicine demonstration that will be
held in this room. It will include a simulated patient examination with the Coffee Regional
Medical Center in Bacon County, Georgia, which is a participant in the Rural Health Care Pilot
The Pilot Program, which was established in 2006, has been a tremendous success.
According to an evaluation done by the Wireline Competition Bureau last year, the Pilot
Program has “result[ed] in improved quality and lower costs of health care in rural areas.” To
give just a couple of examples, one Pilot Program participant in Pennsylvania has reported that it
is now able to provide tele-stroke services for neurology patients within minutes, as opposed to
hours—potentially a life-saving difference for stroke victims. And in South Dakota, another
Pilot Program participant has told us that its Electronic Intensive Care Unit program has
substantially reduced the average number of days that a patient must stay in the ICU.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the FCC who worked so hard in
creating and implementing the Pilot Program. I am also pleased that we voted last month to
establish the Healthcare Connect Fund, building on the lessons learned from the Pilot Program. I
am confident that in the years to come, we will see measurable improvements in patient care
across rural America, thanks to the Fund.
Of course, progress in this field isn’t limited to the wireline side of the ledger. Turning to
the area of mobile health, we in the federal government should encourage such innovation, not
stand in the way. Last month, for example, the Food and Drug Administration approved an
application developed by AliveCor that can turn your iPhone into an electrocardiogram; you can
even download it from iTunes. This is certainly good news, but it is worth noting that the
application was made available for veterinary use months earlier. It goes without saying that
safety is always a priority. But our goal should be for humans to benefit from potentially life-
saving innovation no later than their pets.
For the innovation in telehealth is improving our lives so markedly that innovations
sometimes seem like the stuff of science fiction. For example, Qualcomm is currently
sponsoring a $10 million competition to stimulate the development of a Tricorder, a mobile
health device that should be familiar to all Trekkies out there. This device would be capable of
capturing key health metrics and diagnosing a set of fifteen diseases. This competition has been
endorsed by all five captains from the various Star Trek television series, and I look forward to
seeing the devices that are produced.
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