This month, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced plans to allocate $100 million to establish a Connected Care Pilot Program to support the use of telehealth solutions for low-income and rural Americans. In addition to supporting the connectivity needs for connected care deployment in pilot communities, the program will also quantify the benefits, costs, and savings that result from these connected health solutions.

During a conversation with ACT | The App Association’s Connected Health Initiative, Commissioner Carr outlined examples from communities across the country that would benefit from greater connected care deployments. He described how the pilot program would provide the resources to train nurses in facilities in South Dakota or help patients in rural Virginia track their healthcare progress using tablets and wearable devices. He also outlined the massive benefits connected care deployments could bring to Americans suffering from one of our nation’s most pervasive chronic illnesses: diabetes.

Every year, physicians diagnose 1.5 million Americans with diabetes, adding them to the 30.3 million Americans already battling the disease. Americans living with diabetes are at higher risk of stroke, kidney disease, ulcers, and amputation. In fact, 1.7 million Americans suffer from diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) – the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations. Access to appropriate and reliable healthcare can help address and avoid these symptoms and connected care solutions are time- and resource-efficient ways to deliver care to rural and remote communities.

The advent of innovative, broadband-enabled technologies has increased physicians’ ability to treat diabetes and prevent DFUs for all patients. Our member Podimetrics, a Boston-based healthcare innovator, developed the SmartMat ™ technology to detect DFUs in diabetic patients. Using a broadband connection, the mat collects the patient’s foot temperature, identifies “heat spots” that signify an impending ulcer, and securely shares the data with physicians or care providers to treat the ailment before an amputation is necessary. Revolutionary innovations like these can save millions of lives and improve the quality of care if the patients who need them have reliable access to broadband and connected care deployments.

The App Association and Connected Health Initiative continue to advocate for an environment that supports remote patient monitoring and telehealth capabilities for patients in all corners of the country. We have long recognized the transformative impact these innovations have on our communities, and we applaud Commissioner Carr’s leadership to deploy broadband resources in this space.

To view the complete conversation with Commissioner Carr, and subsequent discussion with Microsoft Director of Federal Health Solutions Shannon Murphy, Startup Health Academy Manager Mark Liber, GlobalMed CEO Joel Barthelemy, and the University of Virginia Health System Director of Telemedicine David Cattell-Gordon about the benefits of the Connected Care Pilot Program to healthcare stakeholders, please click here.