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FCC allocates $400 million in funding to develop and expand telemedicine

A number of studies and personal stories have shown that telemedicine can be effective at evaluating patients in remote locations and helping them modify their lifestyle to manage health conditions. In an effort to make telemedicine more widespread, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced this week that the agency will offer $400 million in annual funding to spur the development of broadband networks to support telemedicine.

As reported today by mobihealthnews:

Starting at the end of the summer in 2013, [public and] nonprofit hospitals will be able to apply for funding to build or expand their broadband networks, allowing rural clinics to connect to urban medical centers to allow remote consultation with specialists and the sharing of electronic health records. Eligible care facilities will receive a 65 percent discount on broadband services, equipment, and connection to research and education networks. They can also get a 65 percent discount on constructing new facilities if they can show it’s the most cost effective way to get connected.

The funding will come through the FCC’s new Healthcare Connect Fund, the new permanent program implementation of the FCC’s Rural Healthcare pilot program, which began in 2006. It has more than 50 active pilots in rural hospitals across the country.

The FCC will begin accepting applications for the Healthcare Connect Fund beginning in late summer of 2013. More information is available in this agency release.

Previously: Telemedicine takes root in the Midwest, How a Stanford dermatologist is using telemedicine to reach underserved populations in California and Can telemedicine work for dermatology patients?
Photo by MilitaryHealth

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