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Clever Networks-smart solutions for regional healthcare.



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The Hon Mark Vaile MP Minister for Transport and Regional Services Deputy Prime Minister

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Minister Vaile’s Media Contact: Robert Nardella 0433 141 433 …

Senator Coonan’s Media Contact: Katherine Meier 0417 441 141

44/07 2 May 2007

Clever Networks-smart solutions for regional healthcare

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile and the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced the third funding recipient under the first round of the Clever Networks program.

The North Coast Area Health Service will use broadband connectivity, together with advanced clinical systems, to improve patient care in rural and regional areas of New South Wales. This project has been developed in partnership with NSW Health.

It is proposed that $1 804 770 in funding will be provided by the Australian Government to the North Coast Area Health Service, with matching funding from the New South Wales Government.

The North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) runs from Tweed Heads down to Port Macquarie, covering just under half a million people in New South Wales.

“The NCAHS Clinical Outreach Program project will upgrade broadband infrastructure in 22 public hospital and health sites to support the roll-out of innovative clinical applications,” Senator Coonan said.

“I am particularly pleased to see the innovative use of technology to bring doctors, other medical personnel and patients together in a way which will see benefits not only to individuals, but to regional Australia as a whole.”

Senator Coonan said improved broadband connectivity in conjunction with the advanced clinical systems will enable clinicians involved in a patient’s care (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists etc) to have a full understanding of the patient’s complete care needs and medical history. This will help medical teams work effectively across all parts of the system and across geographic boundaries.

“The remote medical consultation solution will use broadband connections to allow remote assessment of patients across the North Coast Region. This will allow an emergency patient in Macksville to be assessed by an expert in Coffs Harbour.”

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Senator Coonan said the Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS) will support scheduling of procedures for patients, and work in conjunction with the Radiology Information Systems (RIS). The RIS will improve access to a patient’s radiology images from any health facility connected to the network.

Mr Vaile said the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system supports applications including electronic ordering of tests, reporting of results, management of theatre schedules as well as discharge and referral systems.

“This system will provide a common backbone across a total of 188 hospitals throughout NSW by June 2009,” Mr Vaile said.

Clever Networks is a $113 million Australian Government program that will see improved delivery of services in regional, rural and remote Australia through innovative broadband projects.

Successful projects to receive Clever Networks first round funding will include virtual healthcare, remotely accessible interactive education services, and delivery of integrated state-wide emergency services.

More information about specific projects will become available as each successful negotiation is concluded.

More information about Clever Networks is available at www.dcita.gov.au/clevernetworks