New England Telehealth Consortium Brings 200th Healthcare Location onto Network

The New England Telehealth Consortium (NETC), which is working with FairPoint Communications to link healthcare facilities in northern New England to the NETC network, recently announced its 200th connection.

NETC is a federally funded consortium of healthcare providers whose mandate is to create a shared network among rural and urban healthcare facilities across the region. When connected to the NETC network, providers will be able to deliver remote trauma consultation and expansive telemedicine by linking more than 400 primarily rural health care facilities – including hospitals, behavioral health sites, and community health care centers – in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine – to urban hospitals and health clinics throughout New England.

"We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made connecting more than 200 facilities to the NETC network," said Jim Rogers, the founder of NETC and president of ProInfoNet, the company managing the implementation of the NETC network. "We offer health care providers a sustainable, quality broadband network that will greatly improve the capability and efficiency of healthcare in northern New England, while saving millions of dollars. The network created will help all these institutions to share information that will ultimately benefit the patients all across the region."

NETC – which is based in Bangor, Maine – received a $24.6 million Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rural Health Care Pilot Program award to bring telemedicine to the region. The NETC award was the largest award issued by the FCC under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program. "FairPoint has invested more than $200 million in communication infrastructure and technology to upgrade our state-of-the-art fiber network in northern New England and we are leveraging this network to serve the technology needs of the consortium," said Mike Reed, Maine state president for FairPoint Communications. "This network is designed and built as a data network to move large files quickly and efficiently. It delivers a variety of reliable online services that provide faster ways to communicate by offering high bandwidth choices that are both economical and reliable."

NETC participants are receiving upgrades and improvements to their broadband capabilities and connections while paying only 15 percent of the costs. Healthcare facilities linked to NETC's network can instantly share potentially life-saving information and will save millions of dollars in annual technology costs. "The NETC network will enable patients, especially in rural areas to receive top quality care through enhanced telemedicine and information sharing," said Brian Thibeau, NETC president. "The network will offer health care providers significant cost savings, plus quick and convenient access to the latest research and medical advances."

A list of the facilities that have been connected to the NETC network can be found at: http://www.netelc.org/sites.html.

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