FCC Task Force to Identify Barriers to Wireless Health Adoption

The Federal Communications Commission has announced the creation of a task force that will "bring together the expertise of the FCC on the critical intersection of broadband, advanced technology, and health." Called Connect2HealthFCC, the task force will consider ways to accelerate the adoption of health care technologies by leveraging broadband and other next-generation communications services.

“We must leverage all available technologies to ensure that advanced health care solutions are readily accessible to all Americans, from rural and remote areas to underserved inner cities," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a written statement. "By identifying regulatory barriers and incentives and building stronger partnerships with stakeholders in the areas of telehealth, mobile applications, and telemedicine, we can expedite this vital shift.”

Michele Ellison has been named as chair of the task force and will work with the FCC’s Director of Health Care Initiatives and the Chiefs of the Wireline and Wireless Bureaus and Office of Engineering and Technology, as well as collaborate with public and private stakeholders in the health care and technology space. Since 2009, Ellison has served as Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. She also served as Chief of Staff during FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s tenure as Chairwoman and previously led the agency’s legal team as Acting General Counsel.

In December, at the FCC's inaugural mHealth Innovation Expo in Washington, Clyburn told the audience that broadband-powered health solutions have the potential to be a "great equalizer" in poor and underserved communities in this country. However, Clyburn warned that "if these 21st century health solutions are only available at our most advanced research hospitals and to our wealthiest of citizens then, my friends, we have failed."

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