Friday, May 04, 2018

Different kinds of rural health care need different kinds of broadband for telemedicine

Telemedicine is being offered as a partial solution to rural America's health-care issues, but different kinds of care require different kinds of telemedicine, and therefore different kinds of broadband capability. Rural communities expanding their broadband should consider both long-term and short-term health care needs, Craig Settles writes for The Daily Yonder.

Care for acute problems such as a heart attack or other trauma will likely need a speedy fiber-optic broadband infrastructure. For long-term care for veterans, addiction, or mental health patients, fixed wireless might be more important, because some telemedicine interfaces directly from a patient's or doctor's phone or tablet.

"In the past, community broadband providers may have been advocates of only fiber or only wireless infrastructure," Settles reports. "In the last year or so, communities are increasingly deploying hybrid networks that combine different broadband technologies. Necessity may dictate the network be comprised of fiber, cellular and fixed wireless, and even cable.

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