ATA: 3 priorities for broadband policy in healthcare

In comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the American Telemedicine Association urged the support for and consideration of broad band as a key component to improving healthcare services.

"Broadband advances enable telemedicine supply, and telemedicine demand enables broadband advances," the ATA wrote in its letter. "In the health sector, to expand broadband connectivity is important for many millions of healthcare patients and their providers."

The ATA outlined the following three priority areas of focus for federal broadband policy as it relates to healthcare.

1. Coordinate federal funding to support local health broadband usability. The ATA said it is concerned about realistically matching broadband demand with supply and instead proposes a "bottom-up initiative" in which the Council identifies communities in need and works to bring access to those areas.

2. Create and maintain health service networks via broadband. "Every Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Health Resources and Services Administration, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Indian Health Service and Bureau of Prisons health facility should be interconnected for patient services," wrote the ATA.

3. Incentivize investments in broadband by reimbursing for services. The ATA said a significant barrier to sustaining broadband is the fact that the government does not reimburse for telemedicine services. "We urge the Council to recommend removal of artificial federal barriers to telemedicine," the ATA wrote.

More articles on telemedicine:

Cleveland Clinic, American Well partner for 24-hour telemedicine
Survey finds most consumers unfamiliar with telemedicine, but willing to test it out
Walgreens to expand telemedicine services to 25 states

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