Presentation on Recent FCC Actions to Advance Health Technology
Recent FCC Actions to
FCC Open Meeting
January 31, 2013
Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology
Deputy Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau
The Promise of Broadband-Enabled
Expanding connectivity for health technology can:
Increase access to health careand medical expertise, especially in hard to
Telemedicine and video conferencing allow rural health care providers to take advantage of
specialists, training, and resources in urban centers
Improve patient careby utilizing data to improve health care strategies
Patients who used a mobile tracking system for diabetes care received regular, tailored self-care
messages and were able to achieve significant reduction in blood sugar levels over a year long
Reduce health care costsby using information to improve efficiency of care
Telehealth can reduce the costs of medical care among the elderly by 25%, because it reduces the
number of face to-face consultations needed
Costs related to data collection can be reduced by allowing patients and doctors to access health
records remotely, increase efficiency, avoid duplication, and save between 20% and 30% in
FCC Areas of Responsibility
Rural Health Care Program:Supports broadband for health
care providers, which promotes telemedicine adoption to
expand patient access to specialists and drive down costs.
Broadband: Advances both wireline and wireless
communications services and technologies, thus enabling
many medical and medical-associated applications.
Spectrum: Provides access to the airwaves for wireless
medical devices and various radio services that support
Health IT applications, while preventing harmful interference.
National Broadband Plan: Engages in a variety of actions
and activities to facilitate Health IT under NBP
Federal Interagency Cooperation In 2010, FCC and FDA entered into an unprecedented
Working together to ensure that communications-related medical innovations can
swiftly and safely be brought to market
Formally signed MOU & held joint public workshop
FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) (Public Law 112-144):
FDA, FCC and ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology) are tasked with creating a report proposing strategy and
recommendations for an appropriate risk-based regulatory framework for Health IT
Coordination with NTIA & IRAC on spectrum issues.
Participation in NIH Wireless Medical Technologies Working
Coordination with HHS, NTIA, and RUS on rural health care
New Healthcare Connect Fund
In December 2012, the Commission reformed and streamlined the health
care universal service support program, creating a new, efficient Healthcare
Healthcare Connect will expand health care provider access to broadband,
especially in rural areas, and encourage the creation of state and regional
broadband health care networks.
Healthcare Connect builds on success of
Pilot Program networks:
Large medical centers shared expertise
with rural providers.
Telemedicine and electronic health record
exchange improved quality and reduced
cost of care.
Telemedicine Demonstration What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine and telehealth applications
improve the quality of health care delivered to
patients, generate savings in the cost of
providing health care, and reduce the time and
expense associated with travel to distant
locations to receive or provide care.
Telemedicine Demo at 1pm
Georgia Telehealth Partnership
Paula Guy, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth
Focuses on increasing access to health care through innovative use of technology
including telemedicine, health information exchange and telehealth.
Bacon County Health Services, FCC Pilot Project
Other Recent FCC Actions
Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio), March 2009:
Medical Micropower Networks (MMNs), November 2011:Adopted rules to
enable a new generation of wireless medical devices that can be used to
restore functions to paralyzed limbs. MMNs are ultra-low power wideband
networks consisting of transmitters implanted in the body that take the place of
damaged nerves, restoring sensation and mobility.
Other Recent FCC Actions
Retinal Implants, November 2011:OET granted a
waiver to Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. of
Section 15.209(a) of the Commission’s rules to allow
it to obtain FCC certification for and market its Argus
II Retinal Prosthesis System which is a medical
implant system designed to treat profoundly blind
Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs), May 2012:Order to allocate
spectrum for Medical Body Area Networks, making the U.S. the first country in
the world to make spectrum available for this specific usage. MBANs are
networks of wireless sensors which transmit data on a patient’s vital health
indicators to their doctor or hospital.
Experimental Licensing Order, January 2013:Order to promote expanded
opportunities for radio experimentation and market trials, including for medical
Spectrum for Wireless Broadband: Focused on providing additional
spectrum for commercial wireless broadband networks. Accommodates
innovation and growth in mHealth devices and applications.
mHealth Task Force
Task Force sparked via FCC held mHealth Summit (June
2012) bringing together academia, industry, and government
to accelerate adoption of wireless health technologies.
Participants included senior executives and leaders from health technology
companies, including established companies, startups, non-profits, hospital
leaders, and government experts from the FCC, FDA, HHS, VA, CMS, and
The Co-chairs of this working group were Julian Goldman from Partners
HealthCare, Robert Jarrin from Qualcomm, and Douglas Trauner from
Health Analytic Services.
In September 2012, the mHealth Task Force released its
report and recommendations to the public.
The Report set the following five year goal:
For mHealthtechnology to become a routine medical best practice within
mHealth Task Force
In just four months, the FCC has taken action on 85% of the
mHealth Task Force recommendations, including:
Enable wireless test beds
Create the Health Care Connect Fund
Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot
Promote international spectrum usage for
Enhance FCC coordination with CMS
Begin hiring process for a permanent
Director of Health Care Initiatives
Improve interagency alignment, data
sharing, and cooperation
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