Jared Conley, MD, PhD, MPH & Jennifer Mann, MS
HTL Project | 2022

A strong and secure broadband network is crucial to enabling reliable remote visits in the acute care at home setting. However, MGH’s Home Hospital experience is that reliable connectivity cannot be guaranteed in all patient homes. This is especially problematic given Home Hospital’s expansion plans and corresponding growing geographic coverage areas. Through a needs assessment, HTL also observed that connectivity challenges often tie up and frustrate clinical staff, dampening the delivery of care. To solve these issues, HTL researched best-of-class hotspot routers to use as a backup. The routers are powered by FirstNet – the federal high-speed wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety and health care. FirstNet is the only broadband network provider that enhances connectivity for first responders and clinicians. It uniquely providers AT&T LTE spectrum bands and a special lane of connectivity called Band 14 that is locked just for FirstNet subscribers. To assess the functionality and use of these routers in the acute care home setting, HTL initiated a 3 month pilot with MGH Home Hospital. During the pilot, the routers were used both in patient homes and in the transportation vehicles of on-the-go clinicians (when not driving) to enhance the ability to reliably stream data and communicate.