FCC's $100 Million Connected Care Pilot Program Receives Major Support

Support for telehealth technology is increasing quickly, most notably, within the federal government. The latest effort comes from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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Brendan Carr, a member of the FCC, and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker proposed the launch of a $100 million program to support telehealth programs for underserved populations. including remote patient monitoring programs aimed had improving the treatment of rural patients with diabetes and veterans.

According to mhealthintelligence.com, the Connected Care Pilot Program "would focus on project for low-income Americans...it would also support certain projects over the next two to three years that measure and verify the value of connected care programs in reducing costs, increasing savings and improving clinical outcomes.

Recently, major healthcare and telehealth groups have publicly expressed support for the initiative, including the American Hospital Association.

Per the AHA letter to the FCC:

Telehealth solutions have been shown to significantly improve health outcomes and lower overall health care system costs. In particular, telehealth connects patients to vital health care services through video conferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults, and wireless communications...New and innovative mobile health applications enable better patient-provider communications, encourage better patient self-management and health literacy, and promote positive changes in health and lifestyle. And telehealth is rapidly emerging as a cost-effective solution for overcoming many of the obstacles to health care delivery faced in isolated communities.

Other organizations, such as the Connected Health Initiative (CHI), a collection of dozens of health systems and vendors focused on advancing mHealth and connected care programs, referred to the Connected Care Pilot Program as a game-changer for many "vulnerable Americans."

RELATED: 6 Surprising Facts About Telemedicine

Generally speaking, the primary benefit of telehealth is that it allows healthcare organizations the ability to reach new patients, given telehealth's wider reach and affordability. Rural populations, in particular, tend to be underserved as only about one in ten physicians practice in rural areas in the United States.

Since rural areas tend to include lower income patients, telehealth is even more valuable due to its ability to reduce costs for patients and healthcare organizations alike. One study discovered that telemedicine saved, on average, $24 per patient, along with an average of $50 in travel costs and 51 minutes in wait time.

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