Rosenworcel on Broadband Access and Spectrum for Healthcare
COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCELRe:
Expanding Broadband Access and Spectrum Availability for Healthcare
(January 31, 2013)
Telemedicine in all its forms—mHealth, remote monitoring, and telehealth—is no longer
a dream from the distant future. It is here and now, and it is an integral part of modern medicine.
The numbers tell this story very clearly. The American Telemedicine Association
estimates that more than 10 million Americans directly benefited from telemedicine services last
year. This is double what it was only three years ago. More than 5 million Americans had their
medical images read remotely last year and 1 million Americans currently benefit from remote
cardiac monitoring for implantable devices. In hospitals, a full 10 percent of all intensive care
unit beds now use telemedicine in some form. Add to these numbers the tens of thousands of
mobile health applications available on smartphones—and you quickly get the picture.
Technology is changing the nature of medicine and the way it is practiced in communities in
urban areas, rural areas, and everything in between.
As we have heard today, the Commission has already contributed to the success of
telemedicine—by across the board increasing access to wireless and broadband networks that
support a range of new health IT applications. But the best is yet to come. Anytime, anywhere
healthcare technology is bound to be the foundation of medicine in the digital age.
Yet there will still be challenges—some internal to this agency, others at its margins. So
going forward we must work with our federal partners at the Food and Drug Administration and
the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure that our efforts are always in
concert. Moreover, we should strive to make sure that digital age care is not fenced by state
borders and old rules premised on local paperwork. To this end, it is important to study how the
Servicemembers’ Telemedicine and E-Health Portability Act has helped streamline rules and
foster the use of telemedicine across the country—improving healthcare and reducing cost.
Thank you to the Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Engineering and
Technology for your work on this presentation—and for your upcoming efforts on all the good
things telemedicine ahead.
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