Monday, February 8, 2010

FCC Addressing mHealth

Dr. Mohit Kaushal, Digital Healthcare Director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the FCC, speaking at the mHealth Networking Conference on February 3-4 in Washington D.C., sees the enormous potential for mobile health. He was very impressed with how mHealth helped a man survive in Haiti because he was able to use the apps on his iPhone to treat his fractured leg and other wounds. This story just points out what telecommunication devices and the right software can do in an emergency situation.

Kaushal reports that the FCC realizes the importance of mobile health and is actively promoting mobile health apps in the FCC National Broadband Plan. However, there are still several barriers to address concerning reimbursement issues, the infrastructure needed, and the concerns that involve regulatory and wireless spectrum issues. As reported, much of the country is not yet covered by wireless networks.

As directed by the Recovery Act, the FCC has the responsibility to develop the national broadband plan needed to provide better healthcare in this country via mobile devices and smart phones. The Act requires the FCC to guide and consult with NITA in the implementation of their Broadband Technology Opportunities Program at the Department of Commerce and submit the FCC’s National Broadband Plan to Congress. The FCC is planning to submit the plan in March.

At another meeting held in Washington D.C, FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell spoke at the National Press Club before the Free State Foundation on January 29th and stressed how the mobile app revolution is really helping to save lives. McDowell said the app revolution allows consumers to choose from over 630 mobile devices produced by 32 manufacturers, At the same time, literally hundreds of thousands of mobile apps created by thousand of entrepreneurs have come on the scene with more pouring over the horizon and are now available to app-thirsty consumers through an increasing number of outlets.