Governor launches California Telehealth Network at UC Davis Medical Center

Posted Aug. 25, 2010

Dr. Nesbitt speaking at event © UC Regents
The historic launch of the California Telehealth Network will expand the national backbone for telemedicine and eHealthcare. Tom Nesbitt of UC Davis Health System likened the new network to "a diamond lane for medical care."

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra joined Tom Nesbitt, UC Davis Health System associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances and director of the Center for Health and Technology, Tuesday to launch the California Telehealth Network (CTN). CTN officials selected UC Davis Health System as the location for historic kick-off.

A $30 million joint funding effort between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), the University of California and other private and public entities, the CTN will connect more than 800 California health-care facilities to a statewide medical-grade network of health-care and emergency services. Tuesday's event showcased the linkages among four of the initial sites, including Oroville Hospital in Oroville, UC Irvine, CommuniCare Health Center in West Sacramento and UC Davis.

"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."

Video of launch event for the California Telehealth Network

Using broadband to connect health-care providers, the CTN will join 68 other networks in the country that serve as the national backbone for telemedicine and eHealthcare. The CTN is being managed by the University of California on behalf of the Governor's Office, with guidance from an advisory board of experts representing state government, rural health care, telemedicine and technology.

Nesbitt likened the new network's service to "a diamond lane for medical care," saying that with the technology of the system in place, digital information will be based on medical need so that emergency consultations could be prioritized while still ensuring the highest levels of visual and audio clarity.

“With the California Telehealth Network, we’re not only going to be able to provide affordable broadband to clinics and hospitals in rural and underserved areas, but we’re going to be able to assure quality of service with explicit privacy and security, leading to higher quality telemedicine throughout the state,” said Nesbitt.