FCC Gives Boost to 'Telehealth'

$417M in grants will bring broadband to rural hospitals
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2007 12:04 PM CST
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin, left, accompanied by commissioners Michael J. Copps, center, and Jonathan S. Adelstein, right, reviews documents as he testifies on Capitol...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – High-speed Internet access funded by $417 million in FCC grants will change how healthcare is provided in rural or heard-to-reach areas across the US, bringing top-end clinical and diagnostic resourced to underserved patients and doctors, the Washington Post reports. Some 6,000 clinics, hospitals, research facilities and universities will be part of the three-year pilot “telehealth” network.

Broadband access allows onsite healthcare providers to upload and rapidly transmit everything from patient records to MRIs to doctors hundreds of miles away. The grants will “play a critical role” in how telecom technology transforms healthcare delivery, the FCC said. Congress has been pressing the FCC to expand broadband access to remote areas, where buildout expense generally is higher.