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

When calculating IT requirements for a medical office, much care has to be taken. Lives can literally hang in the balance of buffering. 

The following information was taken from the HealthIT.gov, a website that is part of Health and Human Service’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. This represents the best information available about average bandwidths. Working with Slice or a similar company to determine you actual needs is strongly encouraged.  

 

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 speeds:

 

  • 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.

Daniel Canestaro