U of Mississippi Medical Center's telehealth director to Senate: We need broadband for telehealth

Jessica Kim Cohen - Print  | 

Telehealth specialist Michael P. Adcock testified on the importance of broadband at a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet hearing Nov. 7.

Mr. Adcock, executive director of the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, said the university delivers more than 30 medical specialties at 200-plus sites across Mississippi, including rural clinics, schools and prisons.

"Maximizing our utilization of healthcare resources through the use of technology is the only way we can reach all of the Mississippians who need lifesaving healthcare," he said. "These world class services would not be available in local communities and homes without broadband connectivity."

As many as one in three households do not subscribe to internet service, according to Federal Communications Commission data cited by Mr. Adcock. In Mississippi, only 34 percent of residents have access to residential fixed broadband connection.

To address the issue, Mr. Adcock voiced his support for the Rural Wireless Access Act of 2017 (Senate bill 1621) and the SPEED Act of 2017 (Senate bill 1988).

Mr. Adcock referenced one of the university's recent pilot programs, which aimed to help patients manage chronic conditions with remote patient monitoring. The university partnered with telecommunications company C Spire to provide those without internet access to mobile broadband.

"This [partnership] worked during the pilot program and continues to be our go to solution for connecting patients to the resources they need for remote patient monitoring," he said. "However, as telehealth grows and additional services are available in the home, a more reliable, fixed solution will be necessary."

To access Mr. Adcock's testimony, click here.

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