From: DVA Media Centre
Date: Tue 29/11/2011

BROADBAND NETWORK PROVIDES IN-HOME HEALTHCARE

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced an $8 million trial which will enable chronically ill veterans to have their health monitored by health professionals without leaving their home.

Mr Snowdon said the use of in-home telemonitoring technology, combines the best of the National Broadband Network (NBN) high speed broadband with chronic care management to benefit many in our veteran community.

“This trial will take advantage of reliable, high-speed and high-capacity broadband capability to change the way health services are delivered to the veteran community and allow veterans to access high-quality health care from 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.

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

Around 300 veterans will be able to participate in the trial in the NBN early release areas of Toowoomba in Queensland, Coffs Harbour and Armidale in New South Wales, Mandurah and Geraldton in Western Australia and Kingston Beach in Tasmania, commencing from July 2012.

Mr Snowdon said veterans in the trial would have an individual health care plan developed for them in consultation with their GP and a nurse coordinator.

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

Importantly, the program will be closely linked with the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program, which provides ongoing, planned and coordinated care, led by a general practitioner (GP) with a nurse coordinator, to eligible veterans who have chronic conditions, complex care needs and are at risk of an unplanned hospitalisation.

Senator Conroy said the trial is an example of the exciting and transformational opportunities enabled by the NBN, and contributes to the Australian Government’s vision for Australia as a world leading digital economy by 2020.

“The NBN is the platform that will connect veterans and their health care teams, providing an avenue for care that is ideally suited to many people within our veteran community,” Senator Conroy said.

All information will be provided via a secure format and the safety and privacy of personal data will be protected.

“The Australian Government is committed to initiatives that are innovative and improve the health of all Australians, utilising a tool such as the NBN to assist our veterans stay to in their own homes for longer is a positive step forward.”

“This announcement builds on the key health reform initiatives such as Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System to help streamline communication between the various health professionals involved in a veteran’s care, and the Coordinated Veterans’ Care Program,” Senator Conroy said.

More information about the new project is available at www.dva.gov.au