Improving Health Services Via Advanced ICT Networks

Improving Health Services Via Advanced ICT Networks

Peter Farr (Peter Farr Consultants Australasia Pty Ltd, Australia), Isabelle Ellis (Charles Darwin University, Australia) and John Royle (Reliance Consulting Pty Ltd, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-851-2.ch037
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This chapter describes an innovative broadband initiative that connects a group of general practices, medical specialists, hospitals, and other health providers in rural areas of Australia through a managed virtual private network. It provides secure connectivity for a variety of mission-critical healthcare delivery applications—for example, transmission of pathology and radiology test results direct to clinicians. The medical practices involved are small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and the key aspects of ICTs for them are the impact on costs, productivity, and customer service. The formal evaluation process examined the domains of appropriateness, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Being the first such health network of its kind in Australia, the project encountered challenges and, by overcoming these, has been guiding government policy in respect to e-health. Initially funded from March 2005 via a Commonwealth Government grant, the GoldHealth network moved into a sustainable mode in July 2006. This chapter provides insights into GoldHealth and should be a useful guide to any similar broadband network initiatives for the health sector elsewhere in the world.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Health: An emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health, and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies

Technology Diffusion Curve: The innovation adoption curve of Rogers is a model that classifies adopters of innovations into various categories based on the idea that certain individuals are inevitably more open to adaptation than others. It is also called diffusion of innovations theory.

Virtual private network (VPN): A hybrid network that includes both public and private facilities. The user leases a bundle of circuits and configures the VPN on an as-needed basis so that some traffic travels on the private leased network and some travels on the common carrier’s public network.

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