FCC Seeking Comment on Expanding Telemedicine and Improving Broadband Infrastructure

The notice looks to expand broadband to better assure that consumers from major cities as well as rural and remote areas, Tribal lands, and other underserved regions, can access possible lifesaving health technologies and services like telemedicine. In the notice, the FCC looks for comments from a number of questions on how to encourage broadband adoption, improve the FCC's Rural Health Care Program, raise consumer awareness, reach people with disabilities, identify best practices and engage stakeholders.

HHS Awards Grants for Data Projects

On May 17th Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D. announced the selection of five entrepreneurial projects for a total of $375,000 investment by the Secretary’s Ventures Fund (HHS Ventures).  These projects were chosen from across HHS and are part of the latest round of funding and support designed to advance the Department’s innovation agenda.

HHS Ventures is a competitive effort that provides growth-stage funding and support to HHS employees with proven ideas for how to dramatically improve their office, agency, or the Department’s ability to carry out its mission.  

The projects selected by HHS Ventures represent critical areas of opportunity in improving the efficiency of the Department and include:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Viral Hepatitis designed and implemented the Global Hepatitis Outbreak and Surveillance Technology (GHOST), the CDC’s first cloud-based surveillance and analysis system. GHOST is a virtual diagnostic system that extracts epidemiological intelligence from next-generation sequencing data.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and CDC are partnering to combat the devastating effects of the Zika virus. This project would enable efficient data transmission and improve care for patients by transmitting orders and results in a faster and more efficient way. It would serve as an extension of existing electronic test order and result technology. Additionally, this would build the capacity of public health laboratories to respond and manage future changes in testing requirements guidance from public health authorities.

To improve health monitoring, a team from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed an internet-enabled device that turns a conventional rodent cage into a “smart cage”. The “smart cage” assesses food and water intake and sends high resolution data to an online server in real-time. This project represents a novel effort to understand rodent care and processes for monitoring rodent health. It has the potential to reduce the costs of health monitoring while improving the quality of care for research animals.

In an effort to reduce labor and equipment costs and improve patient care, Indian Health Service’s Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC) has tested and is adopting an electronic signature pad to capture patient signatures electronically. This system would create electronic forms and upload the signed forms directly into the network safely and efficiently.

The HHS Program Support Center is developing an end-to-end process to acquire laboratory supplies by creating an online marketplace to be used by laboratories across HHS. By applying proven supply chain and category management methodologies along with state of the art technology, HHS can reduce inefficiencies, improve consumer satisfaction, and enhance business processes.