Can telemedicine help communities justify better broadband?


Telemedicine –using telecommunications to enhance medical and healthcare delivery – is lauded for advancing the public good, improving the quality of life and transforming the patient/doctor relationship for the betterment of both. Broadband-driven telemedicine also impacts economic development. But are communities prepared to ride this particular technology wave to better economic health?

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) indicated in a survey this month that 43 percent of its members think broadband-enabled medical and healthcare services are a primary economic issue for them. And 28 percent see these services indirectly impacting their local economy. Contrary to conventional wisdom that rural communities have the greater need for telemedicine services, survey results show urban and suburban communities are just as likely rural ones to place high economic value on telemedicine.

But only in a third of the cases do respondents say their communities’ current available broadband speeds are sufficient to attract new…

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