The Australian Telehealth Network (ATN) has launched its video consultation services aimed at connecting aged care providers, general practitioners and specialists across Australia.
The services will be provided in partnership with video conferencing vendor, BCS Global Networks, and personal telepresence company, Vidyo Inc.
ATN’s unified network is designed to facilitate virtual face-to-face sharing of expertise and information by physicians and hospitals, especially those based in remote and regional areas in Australia.
The ATN service is part of the Commonwealth Government’s $620 million push into making the oft quoted “telehealth” concept a reality.
“Aged care providers across the country have enormous difficulties in accessing GP services in a timely manner, which sometimes has serious and adverse outcomes for residents,” ATN Executive Director, Mark Barnett, said.
“The partnership was established to provide Australian aged care providers and physicians with the world’s best and most economical video conferencing technology.”
ATN chose BCS Global and Vidyo to implement and manage its video consultation services following extensive global search by the organisation for a “proven video consultation technology” that would be well suited for the Australian market.
Some of the advantage of the technology as highlighted by the ATN is the ability to operate over a low bandwidth with low latency for a high quality visual experience when diagnosis are carried out.
Since the service has been designed to work over the Internet via existing laptops, smartphones or tablets, ATN has positioned it as a “very affordable solution” that patients and health care providers can make use of at anytime, anywhere.
While BCS Global CEO, Clive Sawkins, admits that the inclusion of video collaboration poses challenges around usability, support, reliability, security and interoperability, he is convinced that it will add a new paradigm to telehealth.
“Leveraging on the partnership with Vidyo, we offer a cloud-based managed video collaboration service that addresses all these challenges and offers a superior user experience that is easy-to-use, reliable and supported 24/7 globally,” he said.
Already used in some of the largest telemedicine networks in the world, Vidyo’s platform makes use of scale, quality and workflow optimisation for immediate and affordable natural communication services between hospitals, physician and patients.
With the Australian network just out the door, ATN already eyeing expansion of the service to New Zealand with a launch pencilled in for 2012.