A Medical Device Daily

A proposal by the Pennsylvania Medical Society (Philadelphia) to use broadband network technologies to improve healthcare in the state has received a $300,000 grant from the Broadband Outreach & Aggregation Fund, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, supporting a study to measure broadband access in doctor's offices and other healthcare settings.

In addition, the study will establish a benchmark for broadband network use by Pennsylvania physicians. The Society will reach out to Pennsylvania physicians and hospitals over the next few months about the value of high-speed broadband access for healthcare delivery.
"It is generally accepted that many physicians lack broadband access, which is necessary to use integrated medical records systems, access real-time medical information, enable telehealth and telemedicine applications, or access certain Internet-based training and educational materials," said Mark Piasio, MD, president of the society. "If more of our state's doctors used technologies like electronic medical records and electronic prescribing systems, . . . healthcare would improve in our state. However, as a first step, physicians need to get high-speed Internet access in their practices."

Piasio added that a 2006 society survey indicated that about 7,500 Pennsylvania physicians either have no Internet access or only dial-up access.

Assisting the Pennsylvania Medical Society with the study will be The Affinity Group (Harrisburg, Poennsylvania), which has completed similar studies related to broadband access in educational settings. As a primary stakeholder in the development of health information technology in Pennsylvania, the state Department of Health is also participating in this project.