Broadband-Enabled Health Care Solutions and Advanced Technologies

In a Public Notice [GN Docket No. 16-46] published in the Federal Register on May 10, 2017, the FCC sought stakeholder input on Actions to Accelerate Adoption and Accessibility of Broadband-Enabled Health Care Solutions and Advanced Technologies. They are specifically interested in expanding access and utilization in underserved areas, including rural communities. Broadband connectivity is increasingly instrumental in bringing together healthcare practitioners and consumers, enabling the exchange of information, and use of services.  But in some cases, communities that could see the most gains from broadband-enabled health care solutions, gaps in technology (availability, accessibility, and affordability), policy and practice limit its impact. The FCC initiatives such as the Universal Service program and spectrum licensing, are meant to support health care innovation. As such, efforts are ongoing to evaluate and understand broadband health infrastructure and its transformative impact on the delivery of health care services. To this end, the FCC sought stakeholder input on  regulatory, technical, and consumer issues related to the fusion of broadband and health care delivery. FCC objectives on this issue include [verbatim]: 1) Promoting effective policy and regulatory solutions that encourage broadband adoption and promote Health IT, 2) Identifying regulatory barriers (and incentives) to the deployment of RF-Enabled advanced healthcare technologies and devices, 3) Strengthening the nation's telehealth infrastructure through the FCC's Rural Health Care Program and other initiatives, 4) Raising consumer awareness about the value proposition of broadband in the health care sector and its potential for addressing health care disparities, and 5) Engaging a diverse array of traditional and non-traditional stakeholders to identify emerging issues and opportunities in the broadband health space.  Initial comments were due on May 24, 2017, but there is still time to submit reply comments. That deadline is on, or before June 8, 2017.


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