Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Health Sector adds Weight to Broadband Project

Health Sector adds Weight to Project Bringing Broadband to Regions

Health Minister Annette King said today a government initiative to allow faster telecommunications connections across the country has the potential to provide a big impact on future Information Technology developments in the health sector.

Ms King says the health sector's involvement with Project PROBE (PROvincial Broadband Extension) is being stepped up to explore ways it can help realise E-Health goals, particularly in providing a communications platform for future systems for clinicians in the regions.

Project PROBE is a combined initiative by the Education Minister Trevor Mallard, and Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton, to bring broadband to schools and promote the Knowledge Economy in the regions.

Ms King said because of potential benefits for E-Health, she has asked for a health representative to be appointed to the steering committee overseeing the regional tender evaluation process.

"This will mean the specific needs of the health sector can be incorporated into the roll-out, including the security and privacy of health data.”

Ms King said once PROBE was up and running, clinicians in the regions especially will be able to easily take advantage of having access to broadband. A Ministry of Health analysis has shown that schools and medical centres are more often than not very close to each other.

"This will mean a far easier time for health professionals, doctors, nurses, dentists and others, around the country to get access to broadband infrastructure. A fast and permanent network connection for users is critical to implementing E-Health initiatives, because of the size of data that can be transferred."

Ms King said examples would include file images of x-rays, CT and MRI scans, which could be at least several megabytes. A regular modem could take up to an hour to download an image, but with a broadband connection the file could be far more easily and quickly sent to a patient's GP to be put in their records, or to a specialist for diagnosis.

"And of course broadband needs to be widely available to health practitioners before you can roll out such technologies. Without using the PROBE project, it would likely take much longer to provide rural GPs with access through the alternative of waiting for commercial companies to 'wire up' the regions." Ms King said telemedicine, where consultations between local and hospital clinicians and/or patients take place remotely, was another exciting health development that needed high-speed connections.

"In these situations a video link can be established between specialists and patients who may not be able to get to the city where the specialist works – so, for example, a patient could have a skin condition diagnosed by a dermatologist via a video-link, without having to travel to the city where that specialist works."

Ms King said such innovations are still in their infancy in New Zealand for a large part due to the difficulties in accessing broadband. “As technology improves, telemedicine will mean greater access to the health system for people living in regional areas, for both existing and new health services.

"The potential impact on the way health services can be delivered through broadband is tremendous. I’m looking forward to seeing the potential for using PROBE in delivering health services realised over the coming months and years, particularly as the recommendations from the WAVE (Working to Add Value) report are implemented.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news