Craig Settles has a new report on telehealth and broadband. Here’s the briefest description…
The bulk of the report gives three categories innovative and eﬀective telemedicine applications: 1) general medical services, 2) mental health services, and 3) home health care. The summaries present how or why these are ideal to oﬀer community broadband subscribers. The report concludes with highlights on developing a telemedicinenpilot project, and helpful recommendations.
He discusses affordability…
The digital divide’s impact is that many low-‐income and lower middle class residents do not have internet access available, and so by extension they will have a hard time getting telehealth. Signiﬁcant numbers of these individuals can’t aﬀord access even if broadband reaches their neighborhoods. And if the infrastructure is poor, even well to-‐do folks cannot get good broadband.
He discusses how partnerships are built between broadband providers and telehealth services…
Bottom line – both the vendors, particularly start-‐ups and medium size companies, and broadband owners share a mission – the need for plenty of customers and marketing clout. In addition, many of these organizations and committed to serving committed to serving communities’ disadvantaged and the low-come income residents, so there’s a shared social as well as marketing mission.
And how partnerships can improve digital inclusion efforts…
To design the most eﬀective digital literacy program, Seifer advises broadband and telehealth teams to consult with those community nonprofits most familiar wit the audiences that will use the telehealth programs. “If you’re trying to reach veterans with a telemedicine app, contact local or state organizations that service veterans that service veterans. If you are selling to seniors, talk to groups that deal with that population.”
Purdue University just released a report that looks at the quantitative benefits of investing in broadband – they look specifically at extending/expanding networks deployed by Indiana’s Rural Electric Member Cooperatives (REMCs) – but expanding the network ubiquitously across the state. Here’s what they found…
We estimate the net benefits of broadband investment for the whole state of Indiana is about $12 billion, which is about $1 billion per year annuitized over 20 years at six percent interest rate. Year after year, added government revenues and cost savings would amount to about 27 percent of net benefits in the seven REMCs each year. If the rest of rural Indiana is like these seven Cooperative service areas, then 27 percent of the $1 billion per year would be government revenue and health care cost savings, or $270 million per year. In terms of total net present value of benefits, 27 percent of $12 billion is $3.24 billion in added government revenue and health care cost savings.
It’s interesting to see that 27 percent of the net benefits would be government revenue and health care cost savings. That’s a number taxpayers can use to determine the return of public investment in broadband. Last fall, I looked at community return on public investment in broadband – which came to about $1,850 per household. Taking it a step farther, figuring out how much benefit is there in government revenue and health care savings make it even easier to balance cost with benefit.
The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) surveyed anchor institutions in their members’ service areas about their connectivity. Here are some of the things they learned:
- Fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) was the most prevalent connection mode for all anchor institution types.
- The maximum connection speed of broadband available to anchor institutions in the ILECs’ service areas averaged around 1 Gig (1 Gig = 1,000 Mbps/1 Gbps), except for public libraries where the average maximum connection speed available was less than 500 Mbps.
- The average connection speed of broadband purchased by anchor institutions in the responding companies’ ILEC service areas was the highest for K–12 schools (238.7 Mbps) and the lowest for public libraries (43.3 Mbps).
- For anchor institutions that are not connected via fiber, the average distance of those institutions from fiber facilities was 4.1 miles and the median distance was 0.6 miles. Approximately six in 10 of those institutions (59.4%) are less than a mile away from fiber facilities, while just over one-third (34.4%) are located between one and 20 miles from fiber facilities.
- More than four in 10 respondents (41.3%) indicated that public libraries in their ILEC service areas had access to a maximum broadband speed of 1 Gig or more. For approximately one-half of the respondents (48.9%), public libraries had maximum broadband speed available ranging from 25.0 Mbps to less than 1 Gig. A very small percentage (2.2%) reported that connected public libraries in their service areas had access to a maximum speed of less than 10.0 Mbps
- More than half of the responding companies (55.6%) had hospitals and medical clinics in their ILEC service areas with access to a maximum broadband speed of 1 Gig or more, and about one-fifth (22.2%) reported that hospitals and medical clinics in their ILEC service areas had access to a maximum speed greater than/equal to 100 Mbps but less than 1 Gig. The slowest maximum broadband speed available to connected health care providers, as reported by 6.3% of respondents, was greater than/equal to 10.0 Mbps but less than 25.0 Mbps.
NTCA represents nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America
It would be great to see some projects spring up in Minnesota. We have some awesome healthcare minds – just imagine what could happen…
FCC SEEKS COMMENTS ON LAUNCHING
TELEHEALTH PILOT PROGRAM
Highlights the Benefits of Broadband to Deliver ‘Connected Care Everywhere’
WASHINGTON, August 2, 2018—The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to explore the creation of an experimental “Connected Care Pilot Program” to support the delivery of advanced telehealth services to low-income Americans.
The Commission’s top priority is bridging the digital divide, and nowhere is that more critical than in the area of health care. Today, whether it’s through remote patient monitoring or mobile health applications accessed via smartphones, tablets, or other devices, advances in broadband-enabled telehealth technologies are allowing patients to receive care wherever they are. These connected care services can lead to better health outcomes and significant cost savings for patients and health care providers alike. But many low-income consumers, particularly those living in rural areas, lack access to affordable broadband and might not be able to realize these benefits.
Through today’s Notice of Inquiry (NOI), the Commission seeks comment on creating a Universal Service Fund pilot program to promote the use of broadband-enabled telehealth services among low-income families and veterans, with a focus on services delivered directly to patients beyond the doors of brick-and-mortar health care facilities.
The NOI seeks comment on:
- The goals of, and statutory authority for, the pilot program.
- The design of the pilot program, including the budget; the application process and types of telehealth pilot projects that should be funded; eligibility criteria for participating health care providers, broadband service providers, and low-income consumers; the broadband services and other communications services and equipment that should be supported; the amount of support and how it should be disbursed; and the duration of the program.
- How to measure the effectiveness of pilot projects in achieving the goals of the program.
Today’s decision reflects the Commission’s continued commitment to supporting broadband connectivity for those facing barriers to high-quality health care and to maximizing the benefits of telehealth for all Americans through enhanced digital access.
Action by the Commission August 2, 2018 by Notice of Inquiry (FCC 18-112). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, and Rosenworcel approving and issuing separate statements.
WC Docket No. 18-213
Here’s a fun reminder of what broadband can really do – make lives better.
The video is from Community O2, an online utility that provides an easy, single sign on, integrated and consistent user interface for a wide range of capabilities which would normally require a user to load and use many individual apps. It is akin to a portal or on-ramp to compile and simply access to favorite online applications.
Looks like there may be more funds for the Rural Health Care Program – FCC Chair Ajit Pai is interested in making that happen…
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced today that he has circulated a draft order to his colleagues that would take immediate action to significantly increase funding for the Universal Service Fund’s Rural Health Care Program.
The program’s current annual funding cap is $400 million. The cap was set in 1997 and was never indexed for inflation. Recently, demand for funding under the program has outpaced the budget, creating uncertainty for patients, health care providers, and communications companies alike.
The Chairman’s order would increase the annual cap to $571 million.