Rowland Misleads on Telehealth

March 10, 2014
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Assistant Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland stated in an oped today that the Coalition’s planned broadband upgrades will not allow the delivery of any telehealth services.
She wrote:

“Perhaps it is no surprise that the Minister does not confront these [telehealth] policy issues in a serious way. His Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) model will not provide a medical-grade, reliable connection to each home, meaning Australians will not be able to utilise these services into the future. Furthermore, it is an inequitable model because it is based on the false premise of where there is existing infrastructure, no such further investment is necessary. Make do with what you have. Focus on the download, not the upload.”

The oped then went on to reference the release of the ‘One In Four Lives’ White Paper on telehealth, which was released in Parliament last week (which I attended), stating: “It was no surprise that the Minister for Communications made no mention of it. When you have pantomimes to rehearse, there is little time for policy consideration.”

In fact the White Paper utterly demolishes Ms Rowland's misleading statement and reminds us yet again that it is only the Labor Party which is so deluded as to imagine that telehealth is only possible with fibre to the premises.

“The real challenge in Telehealth today is not the development of the appropriate technology, which is already widely available … Today, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to technology: inexpensive and free web based video conferencing (VC) solutions for consultation abound, some of which are interoperable. Broadband and 4G internet is now widely available throughout the country and some parts have access to the National Broadband Network (NBN).”

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