Oregon Health Network receives $20.2 million

by: SUBMITTED LOGO - Broadband health care networks such as Oregon Health Network in Lake Oswego improve the quality and reduce the cost of delivering care in rural areas, according to a Federal Communications Commission report.

The report evaluated the commission’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program.

The FCC established the Rural Health Care Pilot Program in 2006 to explore how to harness the power of broadband — with tools such as telehealth and telemedicine services — to improve care in rural communities.

The pilot supports 50 active projects in 38 states. The five largest projects are statewide networks in California, Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina and West Virginia, which connect more than 800 health care providers. The FCC dedicated $417 million to assist these organizations across the country.

Oregon Health Network received the fifth largest award, totaling $20.2 million dollars, to be dispersed over the course of the five-year pilot program that ends May 2014.

According to the report, broadband networks of rural and urban providers save lives by giving rural Americans instant access to specialized services that are otherwise not available in rural areas, saving time that is critical in stroke care and other emergencies

High-speed broadband networks also provide rural patients access to more routine telehealth consultations with medical specialists, efficiently transport health records and facilitate training of nurses and doctors.

Oregon Health Network is composed of 230 clinics, hospitals, community colleges and data centers across the state, including Providence’s Mercantile Clinic and Oregon Health Network Operations Center in Lake Oswego.

The nonprofit, membership-based organization was founded in 2007. The organization is helping to design and lay the broadband infrastructure to create “one Oregon,” meaning that an individual’s access to quality health care should not depend on where a person lives.

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