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All Things HIT

May 31 2012   6:29AM GMT

MBANS, should increase growth & investment in Telehealth



Posted by: AllinHIT
MBANS, Mobile devices and telehealth, Mobile Health, Telehealth

The news on Telehealth continues to be very encouraging. Pennsylvania, last week announced they will cover telehealth services performed by cardiologists and neurologist Medicaid encounters ( A no brainer…Medicaid folks lack transportation, hence access to care and follow-up care!). The Telehealth industry has steadily grown, now projected to be an eighteen (18) billion dollar industry by 2015. There is no doubt the adoption of telehealth technologies and remote monitoring devices will increase. Facing the baby boomer era, and the fact 200 million people entering the healthcare system via Affordable Care Act, telehealth can very well be the answer to servicing these populations. The argument payers should cover telehealth services, is constantly being strengthened with a plethora of un-necessary studies, showing the same good outcomes (how many times must we study these things!). The FCC’s recent announcement they will allocate or set aside wireless spectrum for MBANS (medical body area networks) should be music to the ears of telehealth vendors, operators, and most importantly those patients that have a great need for the services (see more at FCC sets aside wireless spectrum for MBANs – Healthcare business news and research | Modern Healthcare http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20120524/NEWS/305249986#ixzz1wN16axAI)

Considering the concern for wireless security, and exposure to PHI breaches, MBANS, basicially using wireless networks for patient monitoring devices, will allow for transmitting PHI wireless packets in a more secure wireless environment. By allocating the spectrum exclusively for Telehealth, the FCC recognizes the vast need for this “space”. The FCC acknowledged MBANS will cause less interference (less latency and dropped packets), increase the number of patients receiving remote health services, and could increase the number of hospitals that will offer telehealth services.

Obviously, the FCC is now getting alot of credit for isolating spectrum for MBAN technologies. However, it was the idea of GE in 2007. Since, companies like Phillips Healthcare, are creating devices and services centered around MBAN technology. Hence, its only a natural assumption that these same companies will increase their MBAN technology investment, and spur the growth of telehealth. At least, its my hope!

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