A high speed national broadband network could create new business models for hospitals, enabling them to expand services provision beyond their local area, potentially reaching patients both nationally and internationally, according to telco analyst, Paul Budde.
In a recent blog post, Budde noted how high-speed broadband under the National Broadband Network (NBN) could lead to the creation of 'e-hospitals'.
“Hospitals are very much confined to a fairly local area,” the blog post reads. "Their services, in respect of both beds and medical attention, are available to the people in the physical environment of the hospital. But if we think outside the box and look at the expertise in technical and medical resources within that facility, with broadband networks these hospitals can extend their services beyond the actual physical boundaries.
“Through broadband-based networks these e-health services can reach customers/patients in a much larger area – national and even international. They can be advised, monitored and provided with e-health services from central e-hospitals to wherever these patients are.”
Under the new model hospitals could begin to specialise in particular areas of health provision and research to push treatment beyond a handful of local patients to hundreds around the world, making healthcare more cost-effective.
“The net effect of e-health will be that it will replace some of the outdated elements of the current model, and it will offer enormous efficiencies to a range of healthcare services – there has been mention of cost savings in tens of billions of dollars for a country the size of Australia and internationally we talk about savings of between one and two trillion dollars,” the post reads.
The result of this process, Budde wrote, would be an improvement in the lifestyle of older people as well as those who are chronically ill who will be able to undergo much of their treatment in their own home with the assistance of e-health technology.
As reported by <i>Computerworld Australia</i>, the Department of Health and Ageing recently unveiled the second wave of e-health implementation sites to deploy and trial specific aspects of the Federal Government’s $466.7 million personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) initiative.
The additional sites will join the first three sites in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs.
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