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What is the recommended bandwidth for different types of health care providers?

What is the recommended bandwidth for different types of health care providers?

Recommended Minimum Bandwidth Speeds

It is critical you have the broadband capabilities to support your electronic health record (EHR) system. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends the following minimum bandwidth speeds1:

  • Single Physician Practice – 4 megabits per second (Mbps)

    • Supports practice management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of electronic health record (EHR) and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables non real-time image downloads
    • Enables remote monitoring
  • Small Physician Practice (2-4 physicians) – 10 Mbps

    • Supports practice management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables non real-time image downloads
    • Enables remote monitoring
    • Makes possible use of HD video consultations
  • Nursing home – 10 Mbps

    • Supports facility management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables non real-time image downloads
    • Enables remote monitoring
    • Makes possible use of HD video consultations
  • Rural Health Clinic (approximately 5 physicians) – 10 Mbps

    • Supports clinic management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables non real-time image downloads
    • Enables remote monitoring
    • Makes possible use of HD video consultations
  • Clinic/Large Physician Practice (5-25 physicians) – 25 Mbps

    • Supports clinic management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables real-time image transfer
    • Enables remote monitoring
    • Makes possible use of HD video consultations
  • Hospital – 100 Mbps

    • Supports hospital management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables real-time image transfer
    • Enables continuous remote monitoring
    • Makes possible use of HD video consultations
  • Academic/Large Medical Center – 1,000 Mbps

    • Supports hospital management functions, email, and web browsing
    • Allows simultaneous use of EHR and high-quality video consultations
    • Enables real-time image transfer
    • Enables continuous remote monitoring
    • Makes possible use of HD video consultations

Factors to Consider

Estimating bandwidth requirements is complex. You should consider the following factors:

  • Number of users
  • User locations
  • Real-time transactions
  • Hardware
  • Storage technology

It is often best to work directly with your EHR vendor as you estimate your bandwidth requirements.2

Your Local Regional Extension Center Can Help

Your local Regional Extension Center (REC) can help you estimate your bandwidth requirements. RECs are located in every region of the country to help health care providers select, implement, and become adept and meaningul users of EHRS. Contact your local REC to find out if you are eligible for free or reduced-price local support.

Test Your Broadband Connection

To test the quality of your broadband connection, you can use the FCC’s Consumer Broadband Test.

References

  1. Federal Communications Commission. "Health Care Broadband in America." [PDF - 701 KB].
  2. Health Resources and Services Administration. "Should we upgrade our network security before implementing an EHR?"