Healthcare News & Insights

Net neutrality repeal will affect your hospital: Learn how

You may think the impending loss of net neutrality has no real impact on you, since you run a healthcare organization and not an IT company. But the Federal Communication Commission’s new rule will affect all facets of business, including hospitals and health systems. 

Although many state attorneys general and other organizations are fighting against the repeal of net neutrality, being prepared is essential to ensure your hospital doesn’t end up getting left behind. Connectivity, digital health and telemedicine could all be affected by the loss of net neutrality.

Net neutrality allows everyone to get the same speed and level of internet service, regardless of what websites you visit. Its repeal would mean internet service providers (ISPs) can charge consumers for higher speeds or can slow down connections if customers aren’t willing to pay.

This is a concern for hospitals, since fast and clear tech connections when providing patient care are essential. Although telehealth devices are getting cheaper, there may not be much money saved if ISPs are charging high fees for even basic connectivity, said Healthcare Finance News (HFN).

If hospitals are forced to pay more for high speeds, they may have to cut back on telemedicine devices and programs, which would be a tech setback for many organizations, especially those in rural areas. Small companies will also suffer, since they likely won’t have the resources to pay for extensive programs and high-speed internet.

Prepare for net neutrality loss

If we do lose net neutrality, your hospital can take a few key steps to get ready.

First, HFN recommends putting a hold on any major technology or telehealth devices you may have been planning on buying. Shelling out for machines that require significant bandwidth could cause problems if you don’t have access to that bandwidth any longer.

You should also start having conversations with your ISP to see what it’s planning for healthcare companies. If you have a long and satisfying relationship with your ISP, you may be able to negotiate a new contract that sets a flat rate for certain speeds.

At the very least, you’ll be able to get an inside look at the ISP’s directions for the future – which can help your facility prepare for the worst.

While all this is speculation right now, the possibility of losing net neutrality is becoming very real. So creating a plan to deal with all the outcomes can put your hospital in a better place for the future, without compromising your technological goals.

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