Video conferencing grows fast in healthcare

Government claims the NBN will enable further growth, as healthcare organisations look to branch the video network into new areas

The Government has given the tick of approval to video conferencing solutions in healthcare, as organisations ramp up infrastructure usage.

According to its figures, demand for video conferencing between health agencies increased 43 per cent over the previous quarter and was approximately 34 per cent higher than usage during the same period in 2008. A key user, the Grampians Rural Health Alliance (GRHA) network, notched up over 1100 hours of video conferencing for the three months leading to July 1.

In a release, The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said it was a positive early indication that the National Broadband Network (NBN) would benefit video conferencing applications in healthcare.

“The NBN will serve all Australians, no matter where they choose to live and work, and will provide the enabling platform for a whole range of future remote health applications,” Conroy stated.

Integration partner for the GRHA, iVision, said the healthcare provider had been a long-term customer, with four years of ongoing rollouts.

“What we’ve found across most health customers – including the GRHA – is that they’re now looking to move away from using video conferencing just for teaching and administration purposes,” iVision managing director, Graham Williams, said. “Recent rollouts have involved connecting operating theatres to the network for more health-related applications.”

Key drivers behind the usage of video conferencing are an ageing population and the geographical distances involved, Williams said.