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FCC Recognizes Value of Remote Healthcare for Combatting COVID-19 – to the Tune of $200 Million

On April 10, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which provides $200 million to healthcare providers as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2 trillion economic relief package signed into law on March 27.

The program is intended “to help health care providers furnish connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the FCC said in a press release. “Given the importance of social distancing, telehealth is more important than ever, so we are pleased to do our part to help healthcare providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing connected care.” Hospitals and health systems can apply online.

Just three days after the application opened, the FCC approved its first round of funding: $3.2 million in total for six hard-hit healthcare systems in Atlanta, New York State, New York City, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans, as reported in Healthcare IT News.

PMD Healthcare applauds the current administration and the FCC for prioritizing remote healthcare, including telehealth services and remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices. Remote healthcare options can help hospitals and providers manage the current COVID-19 crisis in several ways:

  • Help reduce the spread of infection by preventing unnecessary visits to providers’ offices and hospitals
  • Preserve much-needed staff resources and personal protective equipment (PPE) for those with the greatest need
  • Improve outcomes for those with chronic diseases and others in high-risk groups by monitoring symptoms, vital signs, and medication adherence closely between healthcare visits, alerting physicians and healthcare providers if intervention is needed

“More and more providers are beginning to drive non-urgent patients to telehealth services to help limit further spread of the virus; but these services are often not equipped with the technology to monitor vital health statistics. PMD Healthcare’s kits enable providers to track these critical biometrics in real time and track longitudinal trending data over time, and better manage the massive influx of COVID-19 patients who may not need a hospital admission but who need to be carefully monitored,” said Wayne Meng, CEO and founder of PMD Healthcare in a recent press release.

PMD Healthcare’s RPM kits include Bluetooth-enabled, patient-friendly medical devices that capture biometric data (oximetry, spirometry, temperature, blood pressure and weight), as well as a tablet equipped with telehealth capabilities. The kits wirelessly transmit data to PMD Healthcare's secure, HIPAA-compliant web portal and help health providers assess symptoms, manage medications and educate patients. Additionally, the respiratory kit includes a digital spirometer — Spiro PD, the first-ever personal spirometer approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — to measure lung function, which many RPM solutions lack.

“FCC’s focus on telehealth and remote monitoring validates what we at PMD Healthcare have known for a long time — that health starts wherever patients are, and that maintaining good health simply cannot be limited to the four walls of a hospital or physician’s office,” says Meng. “Now that our health systems are overwhelmed and social distancing is paramount, we must do what we can to help healthcare providers achieve their mission of helping and healing patients in innovative ways. And we believe remote patient monitoring is the key.”

To learn more about how PMD Healthcare can help your organization overcome its current COVID-19 challenges, Contact Us Today.