SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday joined U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and a diverse group of statewide health care and technology agencies at the University of California (UC), Davis Cancer Center in announcing the launch of the California Telehealth Network (CTN), which will be the largest dedicated telehealth network in the country, and will enhance access to health care services and improve the quality of care for Californians.
“California is always leading the way with the most innovative and new technology that is changing the future. And, what we are launching today is a new era for health care,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Through a simple broadband link, this state-of-the-art system will save lives by instantly connecting people from across the state, including underserved and rural areas, with the best and brightest doctors. The California Telehealth Network marks the beginning of a new digital highway that will fundamentally change the future of how health care is provided.”
The CTN state-of-the-art system will connect telehealth devices in medical facilities from all corners of the state. Today, the CTN is launching its first two remote sites at the Oroville Hospital in Oroville and CommuniCare Health Center in West Sacramento. This phase of the CTN will connect over 800 sites within three years. As the CTN will help to expand health care access, it will also provide significant security and performance improvements over existing telehealth networks, including the ability for time-sensitive or emergency transmissions to receive top priority.
The Governor participated in a demonstration of the telehealth network today linking the UC Davis Cancer Center in Sacramento with medical personnel in three other California locations: the Oroville Hospital in Oroville; UC Irvine Hospital in Irvine; CommuniCare Health Center in West Sacramento.
CTN is a public and private, federal and state partnership which can be used as a model across the nation as other networks are funded and established. The network leveraged both private and public funding for a total of $30 million, including grants from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the California Emerging Technology Fund, the California HealthCare Foundation, UnitedHealthcare, the National Coalition for Healthcare Integration, the University of California and other private and public entities.
Since taking Office, Governor Schwarzenegger has worked to expand California’s telemedicine and broadband infrastructure. Specifically, the Governor’s actions include:
•Creating the Broadband Taskforce in 2006 and tasking them with mapping broadband availability and speed across the state. California is the largest state to map broadband availability and the first to map speed. The Task Force also discussed the need to ensure that the state had broadband capability to support the exchange of health care information. One of their recommendations was to create a statewide eHealth network like the CTN.
•Championing Proposition 1D in 2006, which included $200 million to build telemedicine capacity throughout the state. Using these funds, UC Davis recently broke ground on a new 52,000 square foot facility specifically designed to educate future generations of health care providers to integrate eHealth and telehealth into their clinical practice. The funds have also been used to purchase telehealth equipment for UC and community sites that will be connected through CTN.
•Spearheading the request for a $22.1 million grant from the FCC that was received in 2007 to promote telehealth in California. This large grant helped fund the CTN.
•Appointing a deputy secretary for Health IT at the Health and Human Services Agency earlier this year. Deputy Secretary Jonah Frolich is helping lead state efforts to achieve statewide electronic health data exchange and the adoption of health information technologies.
For more information about the CTN please visit: www.caltelehealth.org/.