Coleman spruiks benefits to telehealth of broadband roll-out

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has highlighted the benefits to telehealth of the government's rural broadband initiative (RBI), which has succeeded in hooking up all rural public hospitals and integrated family health centres to high speed broadband.

The 39 facilities were identified by district health boards as candidates for the RBI and are now all able to connect to fibre capable of peak speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

Dr Coleman said faster broadband would enabled healthcare to be delivered in new ways, including the ability to offer safer, more efficient healthcare closer to home.

“A good example of this is telehealth,” he said. “This technology enables patients to be seen by their health professional remotely which improves health monitoring, lowers healthcare costs, and gives more flexibility to patients and health professionals.

“Telehealth not only breaks down geographic barriers within New Zealand, but it also enables health practitioners to more easily discuss cases and exchange information with colleagues all over the world.”

Communications Minister Amy Adams said the government will extend the RBI, having allocated an extra $100 million to the project.

Photo courtesy of Vodafone.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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