Take a look at some of these interesting facts about healthcare in rural America provided by our colleagues at the National Rural Health Association.
Rural Health Telecom℠’s (RHT) HealthNet network product is powering healthcare provider tele-medicine applications all over the country. From a two-location setup in California to a nearly 150-location complex network in Georgia, HealthNet offers cost-savings, unique redundancy capabilities and major bandwidth solutions to a healthcare provider’s operations. “What makes our network product a very viable solution for all Electronic Medical Records and telemedicine applications is that Rural Health Telecom℠ not only specially designs each network for the customer’s needs, but also can take advantage of all facets of connectivity available in the local area,” said Brandon Olds, Rural Health Telecom℠ senior engineer. “While we might use one of the large carriers for basic service, we also look at including fiber, cable, wireless and satellite operators in the area of the facility to provide diverse connections. That adds system speed, capacity and stability during emergencies.”
While a major network with multiple access options sounds like it might get expensive, Rural Health Telecom℠ has helped all of its customers obtain funding for these systems through the Universal Service Fund (USF). The benefits of RHT’s nearly 14 years of experience with the USF accrues to customers in the form of being able to obtain the largest, fastest network for the fewest out-of-pocket dollars.
“The mega-carriers do not offer the system design and support we do. We offer on-premise service assistance during installation as well as service and maintenance. And we do this at no additional charge,” explained Tim Koxlien, RHT℠ CEO. “We have the expertise to go above and beyond other network providers. Quality customer care is who we are as a company. Since Rural Health Telecom℠ is the only telecom company that exclusively serves the healthcare industry, we have a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs and that gives healthcare providers a great sense of comfort.”
Industry studies show, that over the next 20 years populations will increase in rural America. And currently, rural healthcare patients drive an average of 60 miles to see a specialist. Combining those two factors could spell problems for patient care, but it doesn't have to with the use of proper planning and technology. With USF dollars available, there is no reason for healthcare providers, either in hospitals or small clinics, to under-scope telecommunications networks. All healthcare providers can now have access to the same network quality, features and designs whether they are urban or rural.
The Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) provides support for eligible health care providers (HCPs) to access proper broadband connectivity and encourages the formation of state and regional broadband networks. Under the HCF, eligible HCPs can apply as individuals or as part of a consortium. Individual HCPs and consortium applicants will be able to receive a 65% discount on all eligible services and equipment. Applicants will also be able to receive this discount on HCP-constructed and owned network facilities. The application process will begin in late summer of 2013 and funding will begin January 1, 2014.Read More
The healthcare industry is counting on telemedicine technology to bring consulting doctors together in real time to help patients, even if those doctors are hundreds of miles apart. Like their urban counterparts, rural healthcare patients, physicians and technicians can reap the rewards from the evolving technology, but only if rural healthcare facilities are properly wired and managed to make telemedicine work as efficiently and effectively as those urban healthcare partners. With expanded federal funding available through the Universal Service Fund (USF), healthcare facilities have an opportunity to access:
With USF dollars available, there is no reason for healthcare providers, either in hospitals or small clinics, to under-scope telecommunications networks. All healthcare providers can now have access to the same network quality, features and designs whether they are urban or rural. However, there are always hurdles to overcome on the road to innovation.
Cost-Effective Network Design
While there are many pieces to designing an effective telecommunications network, experienced companies know how to evaluate a healthcare facility’s current needs and make the right recommendations for the highest quality solution.
It is important to have your service provider:
Here’s an amazing fact. In the year 2014, more data will be created than all of the previous year’s combined! And, the healthcare industry will be the single-largest contributor to that data creation. That trend is going to grow with exciting advances in telemedicine. Urban and rural healthcare providers, as the largest contributor to this data expansion, must be ready to handle that exponential jump in data.
Take a look at today’s healthcare telecommunications network infrastructure. Healthcare data networks have not decreased in scope, they’ve grown! This expansion in bandwidth is due to the increase in data generation over just the past few years. Remember when you used 16 slice MRI scanners? They are now 64 slice MRI scanners and growing! These advancements in technology will continue to expand the need for more bandwidth over time, and healthcare providers need to be prepared.
Here’s what to look for in smart system design:
With new regulations requiring our nation’s healthcare providers to use electronic medical records, the reliance upon a network that is up and working at “all times” is imperative. Not only is it important to keep the business side of the facility operating, issues related to effective patient care, access to clinical data and more have now become the cornerstone of the viability of the facility. By using today’s technology options for storing records and remote system operations, administrators, doctors and patients can have the peace of mind knowing that all important information is safe and secure, even in the face of a natural disaster.
You should have your supplier specify:
Telecommunications network services are no different to support than many of the medical devices needed to provide care. Simple and easy, one-source customer care is vital to your facility’s operations, especially in rural America where access to this support infrastructure is significantly lacking.
Your telecommunications supplier should outline:
Access to these enhanced telecommunications technologies are now much more affordable for all healthcare providers. You can be on the leading edge of telemedicine by maximizing your access to federal dollars. That funding also allows you to work with a quality telecommunications carrier that can help you design, install and maintain your system. After all, your doctors, medical technicians and especially your patients deserve the best care you can give them.