Friday, April 13, 2012

Better rural broadband needed for better rural health, advocate writes

The Federal Communications Commission needs to open up more spectrum for rural broadband in order to help rural health, National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Morgan writes in a piece in the Daily Yonder.

"More spectrum will mean more and better care for rural Americans," Morgan writes. "For example, apps have been developed that help monitor patients via smartphones and tablets. A home-health monitoring initiative is in the works. These kinds of breakthroughs will allow rural patients to be treated and monitored at home rather than at a hospital that may be many miles from families and support networks."

Morgan adds, "Expectant and new mothers can receive tips on prenatal care, baby health and parenting over text message. Emergency medical responders can wirelessly receive a patient’s health history or transmit vital statistics and test results to emergency room personnel from the road. A bevy of new medical devices that communicate wirelessly with health professionals are starting to have an impact. A patient at risk for congenital heart failure can step on a scale each morning, knowing that any drastic increases in weight, which would signal a problem, will be communicated immediately to a clinic for evaluation. . . . All of these medical breakthroughs depend on one thing – a robust wireless broadband network that enables the use of sophisticated eHealth applications." (Read more)

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