Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 4:02am
TELEMEDICINE AND 'NET NEUTRALITY'
[SOURCE: , AUTHOR: Vanessa McLaughlin, Providea email@example.com]
[Commentary] Before long, connecting with a doctor and getting medical care online is likely to top the list of Internet breakthroughs -- unless new government regulations get in the way. â€œNet neutralityâ€ proposals now up for debate in Congress could hamper healthcare innovation. Telemedicine is at risk from possible government restrictions under the rubric of net neutrality. Although fair-sounding on its face, proposed legislation would stunt telemedicine by potentially blocking network providers from using the management tools to protect privacy or designing custom business models and systems to deliver medical service at a distance. Net neutrality advocates say every bit of Internet traffic should be treated alike. But that makes as much sense as an emergency room that eliminates triage and treats a broken nose with the same urgency as a heart attack. In an ER, some cases are more critical. On the Internet, some bits of data are more important. Medical data needs to get where itâ€™s going fast and safe. If an e-mail or music video is delayed by a traffic jam on the network, the damage is minimal. If a medical transmission is disrupted, someone could die.
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