The Broadband Nation exhibit was a centerpiece of the show for Washington officials. It featured a "Main Street America" theme, focusing on the benefits of cable’s high-speed broadband service.
Divided into areas for the home, school, office, medical centers and more, there was a wide assortment of displays, ranging from some that were concepts to those that are in wide use today.
In an opening panel Comcast CEO Brian Roberts admitted that he hadn't particularly looked forward to attending yet another show. He said he felt reinvigorated after seeing the promise and evolution shown at Broadband Nation. He also observed that looking at businesses like autos and finance, he'd rather be in "our industry"--cable--than any place else right now.
Broadband for Telehealth
We have heard much about the use of broadband for Telehealth, but one exhibit made clear that in Alaska, telehealth is a reality and necessity today. Because there are so many remote rural Alaskan villages, anything but the most vital of services becomes cost-prohibitive to deliver. To overcome these costs, towns and tribes in Alaska have partnered with broadband providers to deliver sufficient broadband speeds and connectivity to support a variety of telehealth services, including radiological exams. Alaskan doctors believe these initiatives have saved many lives.
The "Doctor Al Better" pavilion featured a demonstration of GCI ConnectMD ( www.connectmd.com ) for taking vital signs, sending electronic medical records and video conference consultation with specialists. ConnectMD is a private medical network providing secure connections ( www.connectmd.com/mednet_map.htm ) between clinics, hospitals, and medical corporations in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. It is operated by GCI, Alaska's cable operator and largest provider of Internet services.
Three doctors who use the ConnectMD network and a GCI employee were connected via video from Anchorage, Alaska so visitors could ask questions about the system and its current use. One intriguing aspect of the health records the doctors share is that they include a picture of the person, not just scans and data. The result is to personalize these patients, even when the remote doctors don't meet them in person.