Nevada Builds Rural Telemedicine Fiber Network


Nevada has a $30 million data link planned that will provide rural telemedicine services between Carson City, Las Vegas and Reno. The Nevada Broadband Networks consortium is managing the project, which will enable high-speed and large file data transfer. Telemedicine essentially allows doctors to communicate with rural patients over the phone and through video conferencing and also allows doctors to transfer patient files to and from hospitals. Telemedicine has been slowly growing in the US as cities and states work through providing healthcare options for rural residents.

Called the Nevada Broadband Telemedicine Initiative, the fiber network will be some 517 miles and hospitals, television providers, and state offices are already lining up as potential subscribers. The network will be primarily focused on telemedicine and health information exchange, although add-on subscribers like state offices will also be allowed to use the network.

e-Care Nevada and the Nevada Hospital Association are using money from a $19.6 million federal BTOP grant that they won in 2009 for part of the work. The planning phase for the project wrapped up in 2011. Project construction is now underway.

Nevada Broadband Networks will finance the remaining gap. The organization is owned by Nebraska-based Pinpoint Communications and a group of Nevada investors.

The project will wrap up in the first quarter of next year.

“The goal of our member healthcare facilities has always been to provide patients with the best possible care using the latest technology available in the healthcare industry. We feel this network is the next step in living out that goal,” said Bill Welch, president of the Nevada Hospital Association in a statement.