In response to recommendations by the mHealth Task Force, the Federal Communications Commission has launched a new website to serve as a central repository for the FCC’s health care-related work and is searching for a new position to coordinate the agency’s health care technology-related initiatives. Chairman Genachowski convened the FCC’s first mHealth Summit earlier this year to discuss the “promise of mobile devices to improve health care and lower costs. “ Participants in the summit formed an independent mHealth Task Force, which made a number of policy recommendations to the FCC, including the the appointment of a Director of Health Care Initiatives. The Commission is now seeking to fill that position, which it says is an important step in the FCC’s ongoing mission to expand access to health care applications through wired and wireless broadband. The mHealth Task Force report also recommended that the Commission comprehensively reform and modernize the Rural Health Care Program.
According to the FCC, the Director of Health Care Initiatives will spearhead the following health-related initiatives for the FCC:
- Continued engagement with the health care and telecommunication community, including with the mHealth Task Force, the NIH mHealth Working Group, and our federal partners, including HHS, FDA, and NTIA.
- Work with current FCC specialists on implementation of and outreach for the new Health Care Connect Fund, which will foster the creation and extension of broadband networks of health care providers throughout the country
- Collaborate with FCC experts on continued innovation in spectrum policy, including across Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs) spectrum, Medical Micropower Networks (MMNs), Medical Device Radio Communications Service (MedRadio), and wireless medical device testing.
- Continue implementation of the recommendations in the Health Care section of 2010 National Broadband Plan, which aims to maximize the impact of broadband and health information technology to transform health care delivery, including implementing the new Health Care Connect Fund, upgrading the Indian Health Services’ broadband network, creating economic incentives for broader health IT adoption and innovation, unlocking the power of health care data and advanced analytics, and modernizing rules to increase access to e-care.
- Design and implement a new Pilot program to explore expanding broadband healthcare networks to skilled nursing facilities