FCC launches health task force

The Federal Communications Commission wants to help healthcare organizations adopt the latest technology and the fastest broadband Internet.

Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the creation of a new task force on Tuesday that aims to find reasons why some doctors, clinics and hospitals might not be adopting so-called “wireless health” technology, which allow patients’ conditions to be tracked even while at home or work. That information can help detect the early signs of an illness and encourage people to live healthier lives. 

“We must leverage all available technologies to ensure that advanced health care solutions are readily accessible to all Americans, from rural and remote areas to underserved inner cities,” Wheeler said in a statement.


“By identifying regulatory barriers and incentives and building stronger partnerships with stakeholders in the areas of tele-health, mobile applications, and tele-medicine, we can expedite this vital shift.”

Michele Ellison, the current head of the FCC’s enforcement bureau, will lead the new effort and collaborate with officials across the commission. She has served in her current role since 2009 and issued nearly 6,000 enforcement actions.   

She is being replaced by Travis LeBlanc, a top deputy to California Attorney General Kamala Harris on technology, intellectual property and telecommunications issues. In California, he helped to run the state’s first high-tech crime and privacy enforcement units.

Wheeler praised LeBlanc as a “savvy prosecutor who also knows how to secure agreements with private companies in order to advance the public mission.”