The California Telehealth Network was launched today by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopr at the UC Davis Cancer Center in Sacramento. The California Telehealth Network is the largest single-state grant award of its kind.
It will link more than 300 health care facilities and 800 doctors’ offices to state and national broadband networks. Although the California Telehealth Network’s emphasis is on rural connectivity, its long-range goal is to establish a statewide telehealth system that links a majority of the state’s health care facilities.
The $30 million project was joint effort between the FCC, the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), the California HealthCare Foundation, UnitedHealthcare, the National Coalition for Healthcare Integration, the University of California and other private and public entities,
“What we are launching today is a new era for health care,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Through a simple broadband link, this state-of-the-art system will save lives by instantly connecting people from across the state, including underserved and rural areas, with the best and brightest doctors. The California Telehealth Network marks the beginning of a new digital highway that will fundamentally change the future of how health care is provided.”
A three-year, $27 million contract to AT&T will provide the telecommunications infrastructure. The CTN architecture uses an IP-based, MPLS-routed VPN incorporating a very high speed, high capacity fiber cores that connects to multiple ILEC/CLEC provider-based landline local loop services. Access to external networks is provided through peering points with various regional, statewide and national network service providers.
“With the $22.1 million in grant funding from the FCC, along with $3.6 million in matching funds from the CETF, the CTN will help improve access to quality healthcare in rural and medically underserved areas, over a secure, managed network enabling the delivery of emerging eHealth and telemedicine services,” explained Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to President Barack Obama.
Using broadband to connect healthcare providers, the California Telehealth Network will join 68 other networks in the nation and serve as a backbone in establishing telemedicine and eHealthcare. CTN is a public and private, federal and state partnership and hopes to be a model across the nation as other networks are funded and come on board.
The California Telehealth Network is part of an effort supported by the Federal Communications Commission to improve the rural health infrastructure throughout California and the nation.
“The CTN is a peer-to-peer network which enables providers to share X-rays and other diagnostic tests instantaneously, and view treatments and procedures from afar in distant emergency rooms or surgical centers as they happen,” said Sandra Shewry, President and CEO, Center for Connected Health Policy. “The CTN also enables the sharing of information for continuing education/distance learning, disaster preparedness, and access to new technologies – all essential elements for the California healthcare system’s growth.”
The University of California Office of the President, together with the UC Davis Health System, is serving as the legally and financially responsible partner for the project.