Letter to new ministerial nominations: Incorporating Provincial and Federal "healthcare" into the "public safety" category of the broadband spectrum allocation
July 18, 2013

Dear Ministers:

We are writing to offer congratulations on your new ministerial nominations and to present a once-in-a-lifetime (literally) leadership, healthcare, and job creation opportunity for the Federal Government. [http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/07/08/ottawa_edges_away_from_public_medicare.html]

Specifically, by incorporating Provincial and Federal "healthcare" into the "public safety" category of the broadband spectrum allocation, you will improve healthcare delivery throughout the country.  What I'm suggesting is that you strongly consider creating one "public safety/healthcare" category.  This decision would provide significant healthcare benefits at zero additional cost, as bandwidth has already been put aside for "public safety" alone.

Although healthcare is an essential component in public safety emergencies, it is not currently defined as such.  Healthcare communications are currently conducted on increasingly more congested common carrier networks, competing with You-Tube, email, and spam.  Healthcare communications should be accorded high priority status, especially in crisis situations similar to police fire and EMS; however they are not.

This results in a loss of seamless interoperability among first responders, potential data corruption, and service delays.  Very likely you have experienced such delays with increasing frequency on your own personal email accounts, just as I have.

In addition to improving healthcare service delivery, inclusion of healthcare into the dedicated spectrum allocation, will also enable Canada to exploit business opportunities unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.  By law, the designated spectrum (up to 20MHz) will be the same spectrum for both the US and Canada.  Because Canada's capacity and traffic will continue to be 1/10 of that in the US, there will be ample bandwidth for Canada to satisfy our country's public safety/healthcare communication needs far into the future.

In contrast, the US will be denied the same opportunity, for several reasons:
1) healthcare has not been included as part of the designated "public safety" bandwidth in the US; 2) the US has a highly fragmented, largely private healthcare system; 3) even if healthcare were included in the US public safety category, bandwidth supply would already outstrip demand.

Combining healthcare and public safety communications would enable the provinces to collaborate with municipal public safety agencies to deploy a ubiquitous, broadband mobile network across the country.  Mobile Information Communication Technology (mICT) in healthcare is expected to save up to 5% of annual healthcare expenditures, substantially more than paying for the cost of developing and operating this infrastructure.

These infrastructure projects will be public/private undertakings.  They will create thousands of new jobs and bring 21st century digital security and quality of service to Canadian healthcare, as well as provide a model for the rest of the world. [http://www.cata.ca/Media_and_Events/Press_Releases/cata_pr02181301.html 

We trust that your July 24th "health accord renewal" meetings, that this historical opportunity will be reviewed.

On Behalf of CATAAlliance,

Mike Kedar, member, CATA National Advisory Council
John Reid, CEO, CATAAlliance