Broadband delivers better health care

Broadband delivers better health care

Health care services are set to improve for Victorians thanks to the rolling out of broadband to local hospitals, general practitioner's offices, community health centres, pharmacies and learning centres in romote areas.

More than 200,000 Victorians will benefit in 40 rural and remote towns in the Grampians thanks to a project funded by the Australian Government's $50 million National Communications Fund.

$8 million is being given to this Grampians Rural Health Alliance Network (GRHANet) project, as one of eight projects designed to fix the problems of service and infrastructure inadequacies faced in rural and regional Australia, in all States and the Northern Territory.

Daryl Williams, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts said. "This will provide a telecommunications network able to integrate voice, video and data communication services for all health care and community service providers in the region.

"The network design provides cheap connectivity to Melbourne and a foundation that can be easily built upon to add more sites and bandwidth capacity. The network will allow rural healthcare agencies to provide new services such as telecounselling, where rural youth and families can receive professional counselling via the broadband connection."

In addition, electronic health records will be retrieved faster and medical images will be interpreted more quickly across long distances. Voice over IP services will also save costs for the health sector.

Small businesses and local governments will be able to use the broadband capacity for other purposes too.

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