A new report gives recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission, other federal agencies and the health care industry on making use of mobile technologies a routine medical best practice by 2017.

The FCC in June held a summit with industry stakeholders to examine opportunities and challenges of mobile health products, and created a mHealth Task Force to develop recommendations. The agency in May adopted rules to allocate spectrum, or wireless frequencies, for Medical Body Area Networks. These are networks of wireless sensors that can transmit patient vital signs to a clinician while giving patients freedom of movement. Now, the FCC is accepting a number of recommendations from the task force, including:

* Work with counterparts in other nations to encourage international MBAN spectrum;

* Consider an order to streamline the agency’s experimental licensing rules to encourage creation of wireless health device “test beds;”

* Consider an order to modernize the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program to include rules to permit provider networks to jointly apply for funds to increase broadband capacity and implement electronic health records;

* Collect richer data sets on broadband and telehealth initiatives to better target support for telemedicine;

* Develop outreach programs to make industry stakeholders more aware of mHealth opportunities; and

* Renew a search for a permanent FCC Health Care Director to be the central point of contact to external organizations.

The complete mHealth Task Force report is available here.

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