The California Telehealth Network (CTN) is playing a foundational role in improving California’s health care delivery system. CTN is creating the high speed telecommunications infrastructure and service availability that will support the creation of a fully integrated healthcare delivery systems within California.
The CTN vision is to provide managed, sustainable, medical grade broadband access to community anchor institutions throughout California. These institutions, connected together through a high speed network to academic centers, data centers, application service providers and insurers, will form the basis for a technology enabled healthcare system.
The availability of broadband telecommunications in California’s rural areas and some urban areas has been severely limited. The cost for a commercial telecommunications company to provide broadband has often been fiscally prohibitive, leaving rural Californians with no way to access the myriad of essential services, including healthcare, that are supported by high speed data communications.
The American Telemedicine Association has historically considered telemedicine and telehealth to be interchangeable terms, encompassing a wide definition of remote healthcare. Patient consultations via video conferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, consumer-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers, among other applications, are all considered part of telemedicine and telehealth.
Communities could benefit by having increased access to clinical services including specialty medical care by clinicians at distant sites, emergency room and intensive care consultation, video-interpreter services, telepharmacy, in-home monitoring, disaster response and other innovative clinical services.
CTN provides the backbone and infrastructure necessary for seamless communication and data exchange between the state’s providers and resources. CTN is dedicated to providing a high quality medical grade broadband network that fully supports the needs of healthcare providers and organizations as we move toward the full deployment of eHealth applications and solutions.
Utilizing the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant, CTN works with the California Telehealth Resource Center (CTRC), previously known as the California Telemedicine and eHealth Center (CTEC), to expand telehealth training and support for rural and medically underserved clinics and hospitals in California.