Federal and state government and medical officials have officially announced the approval of the California Telehealth Network (CTN). It is the US’ largest effort to provide broadband-based specialty care in medically underserved rural and urban areas.
The $30 million project, co-funded by the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program, and public and private sources, will connect more than 800 California clinics and hospitals to a statewide medical-grade network of healthcare and emergency services by 2013.
The peer-to-peer network will enable providers to share X-rays and other diagnostic tests instantly, and view treatments and procedures from afar in long-distance emergency rooms or surgical centers in real-time, according to Sandra Shewry, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Connected Health Policy. The CTN will also link to 68 other networks in the nation and serve as a model for other networks as they are funded and come on board, according to state officials.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called it “a new era for healthcare… the beginning of a new digital highway that will fundamentally change the future of how healthcare is provided.”