FCC seeks comments on Broadband mHealth

FCC seeks comments on Broadband mHealth

The linked article below spends time talking about POTUS45’s FCC that is led by Ajit Pai. After his stance on Net Neutrality that is the subject of much controversy, some would question his commitment to an expansion of mHealth to serve everyone, regardless of location in America. Matters are not helped when a distinct beneficiary of the changes he proposes is one of his former employers. This used to be called a conflict of interest; now it is business as usual.

The paper and linked article both cover seven points that the publication aims for:

  1. Promote Effective Policy and Regulatory Solutions That Encourage Broadband Adoption and Promote Health IT
  2. Identify Regulatory Barriers (and Incentives) to the Deployment of RF-Enabled Advanced Health Care Technologies and Devices
  3. Strengthen the Nation’s Telehealth Infrastructure Through the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program and Other Initiatives
  4. Raise Consumer Awareness About the Value Proposition of Broadband in the Health Care Sector and its Potential for Addressing Health Care Disparities
  5. Enable the Development of Broadband-Enabled Health Technologies That are Designed to be Fully Accessible to People With Disabilities
  6. Highlight Effective Telehealth Projects, Broadband-Enabled Health Technologies, and mHealth Applications Across the Country and Abroad—To Identify Lessons Learned, Best Practices, and Regulatory Challenges
  7. Engage a Diverse Array of Traditional and Non-Traditional Stakeholders To Identify Emerging Issues and Opportunities in the Broadband Health Space

(mHealthIntelligence, 2017) & (“2017-09309.pdf,” n.d., pp. 3–9)

2017-05-13-redux.jpg

All of these initiatives are all meaningful and comprehensive. However, one very important aspect was missing from all of this: No mention on how to pay for this. I searched through the entire document, and nothing came up for either Medicare or Medicaid; Therein lies the problem. The very constituency that is most at risk for mHealth and can derive the most benefit from it have few means of actually paying for it. This is not to say that the underserved and rural populations do not resources, but a glaring omission of this magnitude makes for inept policy. A comment period is posted, so the odds of this being addressed are pretty good.

The dominant medical provider in my market has a Virtual Visit service that is $49, requires a Credit Card, and not covered by Medicare/Medicaid. (“Virtual Visit | 24/7 Online Urgent Care | Carolinas HealthCare System,” n.d.) There is one other important requirement, you must physically be in North Carolina at the time of visit. A reasonable assumption is the system has geofencing capabilities to enforce this.  DMCA and other issues arise if using a VPN to spoof locations; have not and will not tempt fate here. The other medical provider has a similar setup and pricing, however, you must already be in their network/system. Either way, the costs remain a barrier, not the technology.

via FCC Seeks Input on Broadband Expansion for mHealth, Telehealth


2017-09309.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-05-10/pdf/2017-09309.pdf

mHealthIntelligence. (2017, May 11). FCC Seeks Input on Broadband Expansion for mHealth, Telehealth. Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://mhealthintelligence.com/news/fcc-seeks-input-on-broadband-expansion-for-mhealth-telehealth

Virtual Visit | 24/7 Online Urgent Care | Carolinas HealthCare System. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2017, from http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/virtualvisit
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The Digital Divide: A Quarter of the Nation Is Without Broadband

This is unacceptable in what is supposed to be the greatest country on Earth.

One-quarter of the nation does not have broadband. It’s time to finally close the digital divide

Source: The Digital Divide: A Quarter of the Nation Is Without Broadband | Time.com