Wireless healthcare will be a key part of national broadband strategy, FCC says

The Federal Communications Commission is readying a national broadband strategy that will include policies meant to encourage greater usage of wireless devices and applications in healthcare, a senior agency official said.

Speaking at the mHealth Initiative's networking conference in Washington last week, Dr. Mohit Kaushal, digital healthcare director of the FCC's Omnibus Broadband Initiative, said the FCC would analyze broadband-enabled health IT applications, including electronic health records, remote patient monitoring and videoconferencing while developing the strategy.

"We're looking at how to work together to streamline processes of approving new mobile health devices while assuring patient safety," Kaushal said.

Kaushal also acknowledged concerns from some circles that there aren't enough radio frequencies to support the coming boom in wireless healthcare devices, though he didn't tip his hand on a possible resolution. "FCC must efficiently allocate the spectrum that is available in order to drive innovation for both infrastructure and applications," he said.

The FCC strategy development is mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is funding the expansion of broadband Internet access to help boost the economy and improve healthcare.

To learn more about Kaushal's talk and other aspects of the conference:

- take a look at this Government Health IT article

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