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The Effect of Nullifying Net Neutrality on Healthcare

Posted on Friday, May 4, 2018 7:47 PM

Net neutrality is the concept that an internet service provider cannot arbitrarily block or slow down access to websites or online services. 

On April 23, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) signed into law the Restoring Internet Freedom rule which “restores the classification of broadband internet access service as a lightly-regulated information service and reinstates the private mobile service classification of mobile broadband internet access service.”

Now that net neutrality is gone, ISP’s can charge companies for faster internet access. This can put smaller companies at a disadvantage.

“There has been concern that consumers access health care providers and health services could also be affected. Here are three potential implications the repeal of net neutrality could have on health care.

  1. Health data: Electronic health record (EHR) systems are increasingly employing internet enabled cloud-based storage to warehouse and analyze data collected from patients. Therefore, health care providers could end up having to pay additional fees to have access to fast and reliable access to the data that is stored in the cloud.
  2. Telehealth: Remote telehealth services require sufficient broadband capacity and internet speeds – at least 15 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload – to maintain a reliable internet connection. With the end of net neutrality, the impact of paid prioritization on telehealth should be weighed.
  3. Internet of things devices: A growing number of medical devices are connected to the internet and as healthcare moves toward integrating them, an internet environment that encourages the free-flow of information could be beneficial. How paid prioritization effects the IoT environment is yet to be determined.”

There is pending state legislation and litigation in some states that could allow for neutrality within individual states.

Source: NAHC Report


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