Hospitals in Australia push ahead with telehealth video conferencing

Wednesday, July 21 2010

Australia has given medical video conferencing the go-ahead following its successful trial run at the Bendigo and Echuca hospitals in the country's southeastern state of Victoria, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The program, which cost AU$10 million, linked four rural hospitals outside of the city of Melbourne with patients via a video conferencing and telepresence system.

According to the Loddon Mallee Health Alliance, video conferencing has been responsible for a 10-percent drop in patient transfers. The program has also increased support for local doctors and allowed patients who live in the rural areas of Australia to receive the same quality medical care as patients living in the cities.

Loddon Mallee chief information officer Bruce Winzar told the ABC that video conferencing has improved upon already-existing telephone technology "by providing video and other vital signs and images to the specialist who can make a better-informed decision as to whether the patient should be transferred or not."

Hospitals in America are also beginning to embrace telehealth services, such as those recently implemented at a Cheyenne, Wyoming, Veterans Affairs Medical Center.ADNFCR-3295-ID-19901780-ADNFCR