NETC looks to the stars

Satellite deal will speed sharing of medical records across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont
By Mike Miliard
10:28 AM
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New England Telehealth Consortium (NETC) has tapped Germantown, Md.-based Hughes Network Systems for a four-year contract to provide high-speed satellite services for mobile telehealth clinics throughout rural communities in Northern New England.

NETC is a federally funded consortium of healthcare providers – serving more than 400 sites in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont – whose mandate is to create a shared network among rural and urban healthcare facilities, research and academic institutions, and medical specialists to improve patient care across the region.

“NETC is working to build an affordable, high quality of service, private telecommunications network that will provide healthcare providers with quick and convenient access to the latest research and medical advances, speed the sharing of medical records and provide access for remote medical diagnostics and surgery, dentistry, and behavioral health treatment,” said Brian Thibeau, president of NETC.

“Leveraging satellite broadband is a game changer for telehealth, especially for patients in rural areas who will now be able to receive top quality care through enhanced telemedicine and information sharing. It is exciting to make a difference in the healthcare of New Englanders by bringing them innovative technology solutions like this.”

Under the contract, Hughes will integrate its own routers with an auto-deploy antenna from Asheville, N.C.-based AvL Technologies. This will enable video conferencing, prescription dispensing, voice calls, transfer of electronic health records, imaging access and digital messaging.

That transportable solution can be set up quickly, officials say, and can automatically establish connectivity with the Hughes SPACEWAY 3 broadband satellite throughout the NETC service area, harnessing the power of its on-board switching and spot beam technology.

“By using the Hughes and AvL transportable solution, healthcare providers in Northern New England will have access to current research, improved medicine, and support from medical experts through enhanced telemedicine,” said Tony Bardo, assistant vice president for government solutions at Hughes. “This is another great example of how satellite technology can help improve people’s lives.”

Bangor, Maine-based ProInfoNet, an independent telecom and computer consulting firm, was enlisted by NETC to help manage this implementation and is working together with Hughes and AvL to deliver the telehealth network.


“We are excited that NETC’s mobile clinics will have access to telemedicine and electronic health records through the Hughes SPACEWAY satellite system,” said Jim Rogers, president of ProInfoNet. “Patients can now receive excellent remote medical care whether a mobile clinic is parked in rural Maine or docked at an offshore island. This satellite technology allows medical providers at NETC connected hospitals to provide telemedicine services to NETC mobile clinics across the region."