Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

Presentation on Recent FCC Actions to Advance Health Technology

Download Options

Released: January 31, 2013

Recent FCC Actions to
Advance Health
FCC Open Meeting
January 31, 2013

Julius Knapp
Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology

Linda Oliver
Deputy Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau


The Promise of Broadband-Enabled
Health Technology

Expanding connectivity for health technology can:

Increase access to health care

and medical expertise, especially in hard to
serve areas

Telemedicine and video conferencing allow rural health care providers to take advantage of
specialists, training, and resources in urban centers

Improve patient care

by 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 costs

by 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
administrative costs


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.


: Advances both wireline and wireless
communications services and technologies, thus enabling
many medical and medical-associated applications.


: 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
Connect Fund.

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:

New service by expanding previous provisions for medical implant
communications service.

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 mHealth

technology to become a routine medical best practice within
five years.

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


Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.