Telecommunications, critical infrastructure for increasing patient, family and community interactions with and between health providers especially in Remote Australia.

Dr Robert Starling1

1 GeoScience Computer Service, Greenwich, NSW, Australia 



Reliable connectivity to the internet provides options for improving access to health care and reducing costs of delivery especially in remote and very remote Australia (80% of the country – CRANA country).  Identification and use of appropriate technology involves change. The workforce must be empowered to contribute to change.  Adaptability, confidence and imagination make an enjoyable workplace.

What is happening:

The Remote health workforce continues to change.  Long term staff are fewer, staff turnover is higher. Deep knowledge of what works within your communities resides mainly with the nurses, health workers and Aboriginal health workers.

Continuity of care and clinical risk reduction are underpinned by continuity of timely, accurate and complete data patient data.  Integrated single records for clinical, allied and mental health accessible over the internet allow knowledge of a patient to be transferred between providers. Risks, mitigations and preventative steps may be shared with families and groups of influence/association (clusters).

Policy and funding for remote Australia primary and population health has never been less responsive, more confused or the imperative for health services to be successful businesses more critical.  Businesses thrive on certainty, a vane hope in these tumultuous times.

More change is coming, reliable local wireless telephony and data allow remote monitoring of patients and environmental conditions.   A technology-empowered workforce will reduce isolation, costs and risk through enabling pro-active interventions – who will drive this change? What do social media tell us about the state of the health our community?


Do you see mobile voice and data enabled technologies in remote health as an opportunity, a threat or someone else’s problem?




Adviser to Member Services in Information management to support continuity of well-being and care plans (clinical, allied health, health promotion), understanding population health and business modelling and planning, Continuous Quality Improvement.  Also contribute to national inquiries, policy reviews and national primary health strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples along with telecommunications for health and community capacity building.