Federal Govt flags e-health trial for chronically ill veterans

The $8 million project will enable 300 chronically ill veterans from NBN connected areas to have their health monitored from home

The Federal Government has flagged a trial of in-house telemonitoring technology for chronically ill veterans via the National Broadband Network (NBN), kicking off in July 2012.

Both the veterans’ affairs minister, Warren Snowdon, and communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced the $8 million project which will enable 300 chronically ill veterans, from NBN connected areas in Toowoomba, Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Mandurah and Geraldton to have their health monitored without leaving their home.

“Vital statistics will be monitored from home and veterans will also have access to high definition video consultations with their GP or nurse coordinator when required,” Snowden said in a statement.

“This will ensure the veterans’ health can be observed, any irregularities can be identified and appropriate GP intervention provided in a timely manner.”

According to Snowden, the trial, closely linked with the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program, will ensure each veteran will have an individual healthcare plan created by their GP along with the veteran and a nurse coordinator, who will monitor vital signs including blood pressure, pulse and blood glucose levels, liaising with the GP where vital signs are outside the normal range and intervention is necessary.

“Overseas experience has shown that telemonitoring can have significant health benefits for those involved, including more responsive management of chronic conditions.”

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has commended the trial with president, Claire Jackson, noting the trial demonstrated the increasingly accessible and affordable direction that Australia’s healthcare system is heading.

"This trial has the potential to bring new resources and tools to general practice to help keep our veterans out of hospital and to improve their quality of life,” Jackson said.

"The increasing uptake of video consultations – in circumstances where the GP deems patient safety is uncompromised – is a step towards enhancing primary care as we know it today.

“Patients living in rural and remote communities, elderly citizens and other members of the community who find it difficult to regularly visit their GP face‐to‐face, are increasingly finding it possible to receive high‐quality healthcare from the comfort of their own home, thanks to initiatives such as the one announced today.”

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

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Tags e-healthSenator Stephen Conroyfederal governmentNational Broadband Network (NBN)Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital EconomyDepartment of Veterans' Affairstelemonitoring

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