Brisbane Forum #bbfqld – Stream 2: e-Health

The second stream at #bbfqld was about e-Health.

The first presentation was from Alan Taylor, Director of Coeenet@qld, Radiology Informatics Program, Queensland Health.

Alan made the following points:

  • There will be a huge demand for e-Health applications, including for health records, health monitoring, video conferencing etc
  • Large investments in e-Health infrastructure will be needed.
  • There is absence of broadband competition outside the south-east corner of Queensland.
  • We need to understand the issues according to area and what are the issues for different people – health care providers, specialists, patients etc.
  • Health care needs a range of special security and privacy measures appropriate to the context of use.
  • Healthcare information needs a range of guarantees that information is available within stated timeframes
  • Health care traffic is symmetric. Asymmetric “residential” type services are not a good fit. Healthcare traffic requires “quality of service”
  • How will we know whether NBN is on track for healthcare needs? Questions to consider in assessing this – can we get competitive services throughout Queensland and can those services connect with each other? Can we get business grade services for health and government in both regional and metropolitan areas? Will the NBN services support symmetric traffic? Will there be sufficient bandwidth?

Importantly, Alan argued that we need to lobby for investment in Queensland. Funding for digital investment in regional areas absent in Queensland.

Alan also showed a video that demonstrated the different that technology makes to health in rural QLD. Crucially, it helps in making quick decisions about whether patients need transport to other facilities. It is about having up-to-date, accurate information, to make rapid, well-informed decisions. This enhances patient care.

The second speaker was David Hansen, a research scientist from CSIRO. David gave a number of thrilling examples of how CSIRO are using digital technologies in medical research – e.g. to map progression of Alzheimer’s, and many other things. I can’t really do the research justice by explaining in short-form here, but we will endeavour to make the slide set and audio recording available online soon.

General discussion report

Alan Taylor: We need the broadband, but we also need the smart people to get the right management of legal issues and proper business models to actually use the broadband and implement all the possibilities the broadband offers

Q: [Jessica Coates] How hard is training for people with digital technologies?

A: [David Hansen] – Generally you need a clinical champion to actually push the technology in the first place, but once people see the possibilities and how it all works, they generally get very excited about using it.

[Alan Taylor]: Most clinicians can see they need to do things better. Problem is knowing when they can use new technologies – will it save time and money? Will it expose them to risk of clinical malpractice?