More than 400 healthcare facilities across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont will participate in a new telehealth network. The effort is buoyed by Ethernet services from the Portland, Maine-based FairPoint Communications, a broadband internet network provider. It will aim to strengthen the New England Telehealth Consortium’s (NETC), which is a three-state group that has been awarded a $24.6 million Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Health Care Pilot Program award to bring telemedicine to the region.
"This network will enable patients, especially in rural areas to receive top quality care through enhanced telemedicine and information sharing," Brian Thibeau, NETC president, said in a statement. "The network will provide health care providers with quick and convenient access to the latest research and medical advances, speed the sharing of medical records and provide access for remote medical diagnostics and surgery, dentistry and behavioral health treatment."
The grant from the FCC is the largest under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program. According to FairPoint, NETC participants will be receiving upgrades and improvements to their broadband capabilities and connections with only 15 percent of the initial upfront costs. It is aimed to expand telehealth and telemedicine capabilities of northern New England healthcare centers and enhance their ability for health information exchange (HIE).