Australian govt plugs AU$20.3m into telehealth

Australian govt plugs AU$20.3m into telehealth

Summary: Around 2,500 patients in 50 National Broadband Network areas will be part of new telehealth projects funded with AU$20.3 million from the federal government.


The Australian government is looking to show off the benefits that the National Broadband Network (NBN) will bring to the area of telehealth with AU$20.3 million in funding for nine projects across the country.

The nine projects will cover 2,500 patients in 50 locations across Australia where the NBN has already been rolled out.

"These exciting initiatives will help demonstrate how important high-speed broadband is to the future of healthcare, and highlight why it should be rolled out to all Australians," Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said in a statement.

The largest amount of funding — AU$2.993 million — has been given to the Royal District Nursing Service, which will provide in-home video conferencing for 200 patients. The services will also use telehealth to monitor the elderly and chronically ill starting this month.

UniQuest picked up AU$2.756 million for assisted telehealth care for 650 elderly Australians in aged care residences or living at home.

The CSIRO received AU$2.748 million to pilot "NBN-enabled" telehealth services for 150 patients across multiple jurisdictions and health providers. The pilot began last month.

The CSIRO also picked up an additional AU$1.3 million to use the NBN interim satellite service to provide "tele-eye care" service to 900 older and indigenous Australians living in remote and regional Australia in a project starting this month.

The full list of grants can be found here.

Topics: NBN, Health


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • What requires the NBN

    Why are these ehealth initiatives restricted to NBN customers?

    (Very little but expensive) infrastructure looking for an application.
    Richard Flude
    • Richard Flude is not paying attention

      There is a very good reason to trial, troubleshoot and optimise cutting edge remote health services on NBN connected customers. It is because all customers will be NBN connected this decade, according to both political parties.

      We do not need to develop new systems to work with Cobb & Co, overland telegraph or the telephone. We do need to find out exactly what stable, reliable and non-bandwidth-constrained comms to premises makes possible, and what still doesn't work, because it will have direct implications for the cost of health delivery, one of the biggest budget expense areas.

      These are nine of the country's most promising existing projects, and can leverage this modest cash injection to engage additional staff and buy additional equipment, coming to market sooner and delivering real benefits to patients.
    • Faster & Cheaper

      Good question Dick, let's also include areas still on tin cans & string services.
    • Exactly

      In fact a good question would be to ask what happened to the 600 million dollars set aside for tele health three years ago.

      To refresh your memory this was a program that offered selected health practioners a one off payment of $6,000 if they performed a telehealth consultation. Further they would receive up to $60 kicker in Medicare rebates for each subsequent consult.

      The program was a dud.


      Because the clinical use of video conferencing is an entirely separate question to the technical one.

      No amount of bandwidth can force VC into use until the clinical value is tested, the legal implications are covered, the insurance and malpractice actuaries have assessed the risk and the privacy and security issues are documented and legislated.

      This latest announcement is just a stunt.
      • Link please

        ... or it never happened.