NBN 101: How the NBN can change Australian healthcare

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These include the ability of a patient to receive care without leaving their region, reducing disruptions to families and a patient's employment; "closer involvement of the patient's regular GP (or other health care professional) in care"; improved "confidence in those with chronic conditions that they can continue to live in and participate in their local communities and still have access to specialist health care"; and improved viability of communities in regional areas thanks to better healthcare access.

Beyond the potential for remote consultation and its impact on the equity of access to healthcare in Australia, the MTAA notes emerging technologies that can take advantage of a new national network. For example, remote monitoring of patients implanted with cardiac sensors as an alternative to a check-up, monitoring of vital signs, remote tracking of diabetic patients' insulin levels, and the delivery of health education to a patient's home.

Just how much of this makes it into the real world will be discovered over the coming years. However, if nothing else the scale of change the NBN can potentially bring to the realm of healthcare makes clear that the network is not merely about technology; it can be part of fundamentally changing how Australians live their lives and conduct business. When it comes to health it stands to upset assumptions that have been part of Australia for a long time #8212; the iniquity of the town and country divide when it comes to access, for example, and the extent to which serious health conditions can affect people's quality of life.

Further reading:

#8226; NBN 101: A broadband-driven education revolution?

#8226; NBN 101: The Internet or applications?

#8226; NBN 101: The economic argument

#8226; How is fibre optic different from what we currently use?

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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