The Internet Is A Medical Device.  Why Aren’t We Treating It Like One?

BY: John Brownlee, CEO, Vidscrip

You’re having a kidney transplant.  It’s a scary journey, and access to the specialists treating you is critical to your health outcome. That’s why your doctor used Vidscrip to make a series of videos that help you manage your surgical journey (yes, we have a customer – a globally recognized transplant center – who is doing this).  

Now it’s the night before surgery. You receive a text message with a link to a video called, “Preparing For Tomorrow’s Surgery”. You tap on the link, but nothing happens. What you don’t realize is a company paid your internet service provider (ISP) to “throttle” video streamed by services other than theirs. What should have been a reassuring and helpful online encounter with your care team has now increased your anxiety at just the wrong time.

That is the type of looming, real-world consequence we face with the recent repeal of the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules. Just one small example of how lives are going to be impacted by this misguided decision.

With a quick internet search you can learn of myriad ways the internet is used to facilitate health, and healthcare. From tele-stroke programs that connect specialists to remote patients, to online patient communities, to video-based health education, the internet is the most used “medical device” in the world.

By repealing Net Neutrality our government is playing a dangerous game with the internet. Telecom companies and their lobbyists have successfully convinced some lawmakers that access to information and services should be controlled by them, not by consumers and innovators.

At Vidscrip we’ve chosen to take a stand. We urge Minnesota’s leaders from both parties, at the state and federal levels, to work together to protect the internet just like you’ve worked together to protect and grow the medical device industry here in Minnesota. Make no mistake, the internet is the most important medical device we have. Let’s start treating it that way.

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