The Australian Government has announced a list of approved suppliers to implement its $35 million broadband initiative.
All general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) are now able to contact an approved supplier and the government will cover the cost of their uptake of business grade broadband services.
The broadband initiative will ensure that doctors across Australia are able to provide their patients with the benefits of online technology. These include the ability to communicate with other doctors and health care providers by fast, secure email; online delivery of referrals, requests, and test results for pathology, x-rays and ultrasound images; and online education.
Doctors will also be able to access the latest medical information on the Internet and lodge patient claims for Medicare through HIC Online. The initiative will also assist in creation of the proposed national health information network – HealthConnect.
General practices and ACCHS will also be offered professional installation and technical support. Practices that already have broadband access will be able to move to a qualified service offered by their current or a new provider.
In the second stage of the initiative, from mid next year, accredited general practices will be supported to move to more advanced health broadband services. More advanced services, such as Virtual Private Networks, will support a further range of uses including Voice over Internet Protocol (delivering free or cheaper phone calls) and video-conferencing.
The list of approved Broadband for Health subsidies and services is available from www.health.gov.au/ehealth/broadband