California Builds Unprecedented Broadband Telehealth Network
On Tuesday, California launched the California Telehealth Network, the nation's largest telemedicine network, to connect patients and physicians using broadband technology, the Sacramento Bee reports.
By 2011, CTN is expected to link almost 900 health care facilities across the state. Currently, it is set up across 50 sites. UC-Davis Medical Center serves as the network's control center (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 8/18).
CTN visually links small hospitals and health clinics with a system of physicians, surgeons and specialists as far as hundreds of miles away.
The connection will allow health care professionals to:
- Check on patients in real time;
- Review X-rays and diagnostic tests; and
- Advise on procedures, prescription drugs and emergency treatment.
Officials said that using broadband will reduce medical costs and improve clinical outcomes overall (Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/18).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said Proposition 1D from 2006 and the state's Broadband Taskforce helped pave the way for the new network. The proposition provided $200 million to build the state's telemedicine capacity.
With those funds, UC-Davis has started construction on a 52,000 square-foot facility to provide telehealth education to medical students.
Financing the Network
Funding for the network, which cost $30 million, includes:
- More than $21 million from the Federal Communications Commission;
- A matching funds grant of $3.6 million from the California Emerging Technology Fund; and
- Support from the California HealthCare Foundation (Rauber, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/17).
CHCF publishes California Healthline.
Governor Weighs In
On Tuesday, Schwarzenegger was joined by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to launch the network.
Schwarzenegger said, "What we are launching today is a new era for health care. Through a simple broadband link, this state-of-the-art system will save lives by instantly connecting people from across the state, including underserved and rural areas" (Office of the Governor release, 8/17).
To read more about the launch of CTN, see today's Capitol Desk post.
On Tuesday, Capitol Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the launch of California's new telehealth network (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capitol Public Radio, 8/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.