What does telehealth have to do with net neutrality? Both are the latest buzzwords and until recently, vaguely defined terms. Telehealth, although still evolving, generally entails all things involving patient care that require the transmission of data. Net neutrality has been defined by the FCC’s recent release of a Net Neutrality order. And their correlation? Some have asked the question: Is net neutrality really the best thing for telehealth efforts? With no specific language regarding the prioritization of medical information, the Order basically equates the diagnostic transmission of a brain tumor at the same level as the latest skateboarding cat video! There are numerous other analogies to make this point but at the present time, every industry’s information (whether it be adult content, television, YouTube etc.) is equal to your medical information.
Back in the days when the Internet started out, everybody saw the future through his or her own lens. The Health IT community made statements like, “between 30% and 50% of the Internet would be consumed by medical information;” this was a visionary statement at the time, but the premise of medical information growing was largely true, albeit slow and still developing. In modern day, other industries have taken off, consuming much of the Internet traffic with ever-evolving applications, such as digital TV, set to bring more traffic to the information highway. Where does this leave telehealth? Right now, it finds itself treated at the same level as your neighbor’s kid playing Game of War. Read more of this post