Broadband plan lays groundwork for health IT growth

FCC recommends ways HHS and Congress could facilitate broadband access for health IT

The Federal Communications Commission gave a shot in the arm to federal health information technology in its National Broadband Plan, which the agency released last month.

The plan contains a large section that highlights the importance of broadband for electronic health records, health data exchange and telehealth applications. FCC also made recommendations to the Health and Human Services Department and Congress to facilitate broadband access for health IT.

“What is striking is that the strong advocates for telemedicine in this administration are those involved in technology, economic development and telecommunications policy,” said Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association. “Unfortunately, the health reform leaders have given short shrift to telemedicine. That is why many of the health recommendations are targeted to HHS.”

“Since the government is the largest health care payer in the country, concerted government efforts to mandate more effective use and widespread adoption of health technology could have big impacts,” writes Jessica Palmer at the "Collective Imagination" blog.

FCC advised Congress and HHS to document the value of telehealth technologies and propose reimbursement reforms that would ensure that doctors and health providers get paid for delivering such services.

However, FCC might not have gone far enough. Linkous said he wished it had included specific advice for expanding Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for telemedicine.

FCC also recommended improved hospital and provider access to broadband networks and standards for facilitating the exchange of health IT data on those networks.

"In the coming decades, broadband will play an increasingly important role in supporting health care delivery in America," Chuck Parker, executive director of Continua Health Alliance, told Bernie Monegain at Healthcare IT News.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group