Federal and state health care landscape
The Broadband Ecosystem
OHN is more than a mere network that benefits the health care community. Due to the broadband infrastructure that supports our network, it’s important to recognize and value the expanding and interdependent role that quality connectivity plays not only for improved health care delivery, but for workforce and economic development as well.
Quality internet (broadband) connectivity and health information technology (HIT) are no longer “nice to haves” or purely in place for competitive advantage. Strong HIT is the number one incentive to attract, recruit and retain health care providers within communities and counter the current and future crushing health care workforce shortages across all health care-related professions. This robust, next generation HIT requires a higher standard of internet connectivity (quality, reliability, scalability) to support the current and future health care applications and services.
There is a clear ripple effect of poor quality health care personnel in a community: patients don’t have access to quality care, they lose confidence in the community, and, subsequently, the health care provider loses patients and revenue. The effect continues when providers cannot invest further in strengthening their health IT or, ultimately, leave the community to practice elsewhere.
To meet the next generation of patient-centered care, as well as encourage robust local economies, providers must have access to broadband worthy of supporting current and future HIT applications and services. Connectivity (i.e. broadband) is no longer a "nice to have." It has become a core societal infrastructure—as important as water, electricity, roads, and safety—that supports the means and quality of how we live. OHN is charged with, and therefore honored to have been a part of, expanding broadband access to all Oregonians, regardless of where they live.
The National Landscape
Similar to the national and state highway systems, our country’s health care highway is being deployed right now at the state and regional levels. The end goal is to eventually connect each of our country’s state or regional health care networks to each other as one, complete, integrated national delivery system. This is due, in large part, to the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, the Office of the National Coordinator, and other ARRA broadband infrastructure and health care delivery system program investments. These agencies have been funding the broadband deployment and health information technology (HIT) strategy priorities of the current White House administration.
Whether you are on the road traveling in a remote part of Oregon, or in an urban work environment on the East Coast, a backbone network infrastructure like OHN will ensure that patients and providers nationwide are accessible at all points in the continuum of care. With this state, regional, and national infrastructure in place, patients and providers have access to the best and most appropriate type of health information and expertise required at the point of care. This will be the next generation of health care, one that is trusted, relevant, easy to share, and accessible—one that serves the Triple Aim goals to improve patient outcomes, improve population health, and reduce costs.