A federal grant of nearly five million US dollars will be used to build a broadband network linking about 96 rural and urban healthcare providers throughout Hawai'i and the Pacific island region.
The project's area extends about ten thousand kilometres from the U.S. Mainland through Hawai'i to American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to serve a population spread across 11 islands.
Once the network is running, rural healthcare providers will be able to tap the expertise of modern medical centres, concentrated in urban areas, at speeds of up to 1 billion bytes a second.
Dale Moyen, the telehealth manager at Hawai'i Pacific Health, says all the partners in the project have been wanting to do something like this for years.
He says a patient needing specialty care such as a cardiologist or a neurologist would no longer have to travel to Honolulu.