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What will internet healthcare look like without Net Neutrality?

August 20, 2014
Healthcare IT By LW Consulting Inc.

The principles of Net Neutrality, which mean equal access to web content for all sites, have been much discussed in the past few years. The FCC has been considering rules that would require extra "premium" costs for users to access certain sites.

Since more and more aspects of healthcare are moving online, it's no surprise that this proposal brings with it concerns for the medical community and implications that healthcare consulting firms can help with.

A piece that recently appeared on the HealthAffairs blog group-authored by Mark Gaynor, Leslie Lenert, Kristin Wilson and Scott Bradner examines the consequences of a lack of neutrality on internet-based healthcare.

These authors argue that a non-neutral internet could hurt patient access to health information, because internet providers could dictate which services and sites are easier to access. As a countermeasure, they call for greater education of the impacts of this policy.

"If there is any fast lane in the Internet, it should be used for the public good—such as transmitting medical data in real-time during medical emergencies—not because Netflix wants faster streaming for their videos," their article reads.

The FCC recently extended the comment deadline for its proposals that relate to this neutrality plan to September 15 according to a release from that organization. The initial dates were set as July 15 and September 10, but more time has been granted to let the public respond.

Investigate regulatory compliance consulting to prepare your practice for tighter internet restrictions. Whether or not these changes take place, medical information exchanges need to take the relevant rules seriously and pay attention to all of the different applications, portals and online initiatives they rely upon for effective care.