A panel of industry representatives from companies that manufacture new broadband-capable medical tools claim there are challenges with integrating these new technologies into current medical systems. As we all know, smart phones and mobile broadband use is growing faster than many could have anticipated. Companies are now trying to use this new technology for all that it’s worth, particularly in health care delivery. New technologies in health care are providing an opportunity for industry leaders and doctors to improve service delivery to patients, particularly for vulnerable populations including the ageing and minority and low-income populations.
During the panel discussion, Hillary Chen, of the Office of Science and Technology at the White House, reinforced the important role that mobile phones are having, and will continue to have, in the coming years. She explained how programs like “Text for Baby” are allowing mobile broadband users to become more educated and informed on motherhood by providing tips and medical advice via text to expectant mothers. These kinds of advancements in technology can reach more people, faster. Other new and emerging technologies include the use of Bluetooth. Bluetooth, for example, can be used by physicians to monitor the health of elderly patients.
While these new technologies are innovative to say the least, they also come with their share of problems since integrating these new technologies with existing health care systems is not as easy as it may seem. A representative for GE Healthcare, Tim Kotek, stated that while the ultimate goal of new technology is to provide better healthcare to more people at a lower cost, more spectrum is needed to reliably deploy these new technologies. The FCC plays a critical role in this debate as it has some pull in spectrum allocation. Since the spectrum needed to build out new medical technologies is not available, investors have to risk building this infrastructure – with no guarantee that the medical technology will be a success. This means the makers of these new technologies may or may not be reimbursed for their investment.
Not a very secure business transaction and a shaky return on investment to say the least. The FCC needs to step up its efforts to provide more spectrum in this new industry and support new business in this space. Improved service delivery and lower costs for health care services may be in reach if the demand to build out new medical technologies is met with a friendly business environment that offers the basic essentials for supporting growth in this industry.