/ever-telehealth-blog/

The Internet... Network Conectivity... and Bandwidth... are the drivers of Telemedicine...

While healthcare communication technologies are steadily advancing... On the development side, the real question is do we have the infrastructures to support the newer technologies requirements. 

Each new telemedicine/telehealth technology requires connectivity to the internet and to networks with adequate bandwidth that allows it to operate. Because the Telemedicine/telehealth service occur over a distance, and it uses technology features to pass images and sound back and forth or face to face encounters, we must wonder about of the condition of the these support elements. 

Technology companies often build and develop apps, platforms, devices, and features, but the people that make sure the internet can support the newer technologies are separate entities.  Note that the internet is limited. Not every device can operate on every network and function very well.  Some may and some may not, and this all depends on the device and the network's inherent capabilities and its capacity to deliver the amount of bandwidth (consistently) for the new device to function.

So that new technologies coexist and do as they are designed on the internet, internet service providers must be able to deliver the amount of bandwidth all technologies on the network need to operate efficiently. 

Because the devices, technology developers, and the internet services provider are separate entities, one can only imagine whether these groups communicate with one another to ensure they have the best combination of supporting structures to ensure things work as planned.

Support elements, is the term I would use to describe the internet network and bandwidth available to support the technologies that care for patients across distances.  While this might seem mundane and unimportant, it is the opposite.  I would equate these support elements as the road that the cars need to get passengers from point-A to point-B.  Without a road wide enough and good enough for the car to drive, we can just forget about it and leave the care in the factory. 

While multiple factors affect the rate of adoption of telemedicine, one the most important factors that can influence the quality the services delivered is the internet consistent speed and (bandwidth) capacity on both sides of the encounter.  If the internet quality is not poor, or inadequate it may not support the technologies. This can cause streaming images to freeze, drag, and or the voice transmission to appear choppy.  When this happens during an encounter excessively in a clinical environment, the result can cause problems that might result in having to reschedule the encounter. The reason is that this adds some anxiety and doubt to the patient care environment and can affect the result quality of the information shared during the encounter.  I worse cases this could cause the encounter to cancel, and the provider requesting additional visits to recapture the same information.