Going the Distance: Connectivity in HealthCare

December 29, 2011
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Real WIMAX, (not  4G that delivers speed but not distance) may deliver on broadband health IT in remote and rural areas of the United States.

 

Real WIMAX, (not  4G that delivers speed but not distance) may deliver on broadband health IT in remote and rural areas of the United States.

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The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is in the process of releasing “white space”, the television analog frequencies abandoned by the fiat of the FCC several  years ago. The white space will be used for ‘Wi-Max”  a wide area VHF wireless technology that has the potential for a 60 mile radius with one or several broadcast points. While the power limitations are very low and the speeds are low, it will enable much better coverage in rural areas at much lower cost. The adapters are simple and quite inexpensive, the first rendition that has been approved is from Koo Technologies.(KTS)  I believe this will enable  rural providers and hospitals to tie into the NHIN easily. The first test markets are in Delaware and Washington, D.C., and rural Virginia. Spectrum Bridge is an early provider for the technology.The technology requires a database  search for unused spectrum so that it does not interfere with other users in that portion of the radio spectrum. More details here (download).

The innovation will have a great effect on healthcare, as much as scientific advances in medicine. Connectivity has been rated in the top 10 of the best advances in medicine by USA News.