In an op-ed for The Hill‘s Congress Blog, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) and State Senator Sharon Weston-Broome (D-La) argue that telemedicine needs to be a top healthcare priority for America:
With the wide spread expansion of broadband technology, telemedicine is becoming an incredibly effective solution that is providing a new alternative to improve our current health care landscape. These innovations not only result in the substantial reduction of health care disparities, but also in a reduction of healthcare costs across the country.
Hundreds of applications have already been developed, and states that have passed telehealth legislation are realizing many of the benefits. For example, if a patient has heart disease, the use of telemedicine can allow cardiologists to monitor their patient’s vital signs remotely through a patient’s mobile device. These advances can save time, money, and allow physicians to closely monitor the health of their patients at a distance. This example is just one of the many uses of telemedicine, and the more states that adopt telehealth legislation, the more patients these applications can serve.
Over at Information Week, Ken Terry writes about a new report from Minneapolis marketing firm Russell Herder that finds people are increasingly looking online to find out information about health concerns:
Entitled “Seeking Social Solace: How Patients Use Social Media to Disclose Medical Diagnoses Online,” the report draws its conclusions from the comments of nearly 63,000 people on Facebook, Twitter, online message boards, and personal, health-related, and news blogs. Russell Herder used “social monitoring software” to do the research, searching for particular phrases related to news of illness.
According to the report, 40% of the comments were related to cancer. Terry also writes the research presents a big opportunity for health care organizations:
[T]he tendency of newly diagnosed patients to share this information provides an opening for healthcare organizations. “Given the growing demand for online access to health-related information and support, hospitals, clinics, and organizations should ensure they are providing the social media and website resources their patients and prospects are seeking.”
The full report is available at the Russell Herder website.
Over at App-Rising, Geoff Daily offers his list of the “top ten applications for bettering healthcare through broadband.” Check it out.
Daily concludes his list with this word of caution:
In terms of what we need from next-generation broadband networks to enable all these applications to establish themselves and evolve the answers simple: we need everyone to have access to the best broadband. We need broadband networks with limitless capacity so as demands increase so can the supply needed to support them. We need broadband networks that we can rely on to always work. We need broadband networks with low latency to enable as close to real-time delivery as possible.
And while the benefits of next-generation broadband to how we administer medical care are profound, they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
As the Obama administration aims to reform health care and bring broadband to every person in America, the two issues can easily become one.