Federal Communications Commission

Health Care Category

Communications Technology and Health Care

September 28th, 2010 by Phoebe Yang - Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Broadband

Phoebe Yang, Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Broadband, gave this speech about the intersection between communications technology and health care at a conference sponsored by the American Telemedicine Association on Monday, Sept. 27.

Over a century ago, Alexander Graham Bell met with the President of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, to demonstrate a new invention: the telephone. After Bell finished his demonstration, the President turned to him and said, “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?”

As it turned out, the answer to the President’s question was simple: doctors.

As the eminent sociologist Dr. Paul Starr notes, the first recorded telephone exchange connected 21 Connecticut doctors with the Capital Avenue Drugstore in Hartford. The first phone line in Rochester, Minnesota, connected a doctor by the name of Mayo with his local drugstore. By 1923, use of the telephone was so widespread in the medical profession that a Philadelphia doctor’s manual on medical practice remarked that it had become as necessary to the physician as the stethoscope.

Our era is perhaps an even more transformative time for medicine. As all of you know firsthand, we’ve seen tremendous innovation and investment in telemedicine over the last decade.

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Health Care Connectivity White Paper

August 30th, 2010 by Kerry McDermott

Imagine a world where your electronic health record contains a video from an upper GI endoscopy and your follow up consultation occurs via video link. Practitioners are collecting and sharing greater amounts and types of data, as well as engaging patients in new ways. The more data that need to flow through the health care system, the bigger the pipes needed and the better they need to perform. But some health care providers face a connectivity gap – meaning the mass-market broadband infrastructure available to them is beneath a certain bandwidth threshold.

Last week, we published a paper on the connectivity analysis in the Health Care section of the National Broadband Plan. This paper explains the methodology and underlying assumptions used to determine the broadband connectivity gap for health care providers ranging from solo physician practices to hospitals. The gap matters because it affects doctors’ ability to move data and use health IT solutions that can help them better treat their patients. It also affects patients’ ability to access care – especially specialty care.

This analysis is a starting point for figuring out how big the pipes need to be and where they’re lacking. Based on extensive input from industry on the types of health IT solutions and the bandwidth and performance measures needed to support them, we profiled different health IT usage scenarios across various delivery settings and created some connectivity guidelines. We then matched these guidelines against the available mass-market infrastructure to identify potential connectivity gaps.

Due to the limitations of currently available data, the model is only able to estimate available infrastructure and does not address price disparities. Although comprehensive availability and actual purchase data at the provider level are not currently available, we hope the federal government will work together to get such data, as recommended in the National Broadband Plan.

Not withstanding, the value of the model is that it helps us understand that certain segments of providers face greater challenges than others in securing adequate infrastructure to support health care delivery. It also informs our efforts for targeted follow up and enables us to work with partners across government to quantify actual provider-level connectivity. We hope to build on this initial analysis to ensure that every doctor has the broadband infrastructure needed to provide the highest quality care for his or her patients.

Capture The Phone Numbers Using Your Camera Phone

If you have a camera and a 2D matrix code reader on your mobile phone, you can capture the FCC Phone numbers right to your phone by following these three easy steps:
Step 1: Take a photograph of one of the codes below using the camera on your mobile phone.
Step 2: Use your phone's Datamatrix or QR Code reader to decode the information on the photograph. Please note, these code readers are device specific and are available to download on the internet.
Step 3: Store the decoded address information to your phone's address book and use it with your Maps or GPS application.

Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones