On June 8, HIMSS and the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) submitted comments to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) Request for Comment on Actions to Accelerate Adoption and Accessibility of Broadband-Enabled Health Care Solutions and Advanced Technologies. HIMSS and PCHAlliance offered comments and recommendations to FCC to help enable the adoption and accessibility of broadband-enabled health care solutions, especially in rural and underserved areas of the country.
The comment letter emphasizes strong support for flexibility throughout the systems and regulations governing broadband access. Since rural healthcare needs are as varied as the communities are and geographies where facilities are located, the choice of technology to enhance the access to, and quality of care, must adapt to these local conditions. HIMSS and PCHAlliance expressed support for clarity in funding opportunities, including the elimination of retrospective discounting in the Rural Health Care Program, as well as efforts to increase the availability of short-term access by individuals to broadband connections to facilitate the use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) and other chronic disease management programs that require connectivity to patients’ homes.
In addition, the letter supports efforts to allow reseller access to fixed and mobile broadband networks, as it currently exists for telephone networks, to foster a business environment that enables management of multiple contracts across large and diverse healthcare systems.
Moreover, the letter discusses how RPM and home-based primary care for those with chronic conditions is a prime example of how the Internet of Things and ubiquitous broadband can empower patients, improve health, and make care health care service delivery more efficient. The letter also includes an extensive appendix that compiles many of the related successful case studies and examples in these areas.