Reducing the ‘tyranny of distance’ and enhancing patient outcomes through innovative use of new technology options in rural and remote locations

Mr Alistair Crowe1

1Wa Country Health Service, Broome, Australia



The provision of fast effective data connections in remote locations can prove costly and difficult with a lack of data and telecommunications infrastructure in many remote locations making connections slow, unreliable and expensive. With many services moving ‘online’ and a reliable data connection considered for granted in many industries and situations the lack of these services in rural and remote locations hampers the provision of effective data services that support new technologies and reduce the tyranny of distance for remote medical staff. Recent and on-going improvements in this field have opened up new opportunities for a faster connected service to remote clinics and new technologies to improve patient care and reduce the requirement for patients to travel out of their communities to receive some services and care which can now be provided locally.

What is happening in your project/ health service/or what has been your experience:

  • Telstra Satellite Data Connectivity and NBN Skymuster connectivity
  • Point of Care testing and results transmission – iStat devices
  • Introduction of voice over IP telephony
  • Telehealth including Emergency Telehealth services
  • Improved remote support availability
  • Improved reliability of data services and ‘direct’ connectivity


Case studies to demonstrate technology:

Case Study: Kalumburu Remote Area Clinic

  •  Telstra and NBN Satellite connectivity
  • TIPT and VOIP in the clinic and nurses homes (including January outage example)
  • Trial of Telehealth and future Emergency Telehealth
  • ICT remote support connectivity
  • Remote CCTV and duress
  • Future challenges
  • Cost reduction to provide services
  • Increases in bandwidth requirements
  • Mobile telephone communications




Alistair Crowe is the current Regional ICT Manager for the WA Country Health Service in the Kimberley Region supporting over 30 rural and remote health locations across WA with the local ICT team. Alistair Crowe has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science, a Graduate Diploma of Education and qualifications in Youth Work, Protective Care and Juvenile Justice and is currently working towards a Master’s in Business Administration.  Alistair has a particular interest in remote communication technologies and the improvement in health outcomes and working conditions for remote health workers that technology can bring.