Lost in all the buzz of the recently announced Verizon and Google Net Neutrality “partnership” was that both companies were thinking of mobile health care as part of net neutrality. The reaction to the net neutrality proposal has gotten significant criticism by the tech world, mainly because Google and Verizon feel wireless carriers should be exempt from net neutrality rules. But in a joint and long winded statement, there was the following noteworthy note about mobile medicine:
Fifth, we want the broadband infrastructure to be a platform for innovation. Therefore, our proposal would allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services (such as Verizon’s FIOS TV) offered today. This means that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services. It is too soon to predict how these new services will develop, but examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options. Our proposal also includes safeguards to ensure that such online services must be distinguishable from traditional broadband internet access services and are not designed to circumvent the rules. The FCC would also monitor the development of these services to make sure they don’t interfere with the continued development of Internet access services.
Google recently showed how mobile health care apps can sync with their personal record – Google Health – and with their clear interest in collecting “observations of daily living” data, the proposed net neutrality standards make one think Google wouldn’t be opposed to providing a platform for health care monitoring in the future.