body bg


Financial and externality impacts of high-speed broadband for telehealth

  • Year: 2010
  • Author: Mitchell, Scott; Pezzullo, Lynne
  • Publisher: Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
  • Published Location: Canberra, ACT
  • Country: Australia

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) requested Access Economics to report on the financial and externality impacts of ubiquitous high-speed broadband in relation to health and aged care costs, in particular the impacts that would result from increased use of:

■ tele-medicine for remote consultations;

■ remote home-based monitoring of chronic-disease patients and the aged; and

■ remote training of medical professionals (using haptics); while

■ excluding the benefits of personalised electronic health records (EHRs).

The report was required to:

■ identify and articulate the nature of the impacts;

■ determine a methodology to estimate these impacts, both on a net present value (NPV) and an annualised cash basis; and

■ provide high-level estimates of the impacts.

Tele-health offers the potential for significant gains to Australia's population, especially for people who are elderly or who live in rural or remote communities. Unfortunately, however, despite a myriad of tele-health studies, it is difficult to measure such benefits. Tele-health studies to date have been constrained by poor economic and health data and methods.

Most studies have, however, shown that tele-health is cheaper and faster (and at least equally effective) compared to transporting patients or health care providers over large distances. Thus, it should be possible to estimate time and money savings at a national level, if not health gains.

■ There does not appear to be sufficient data to estimate the benefits of online training for rural / remote medical professionals.

Using a combination of a national level United States (US) study into one aspect of tele-health (tele-consulting) and a national level Australian study that was mostly based on EHRs but had tele-health components, Access Economics estimates that steady state benefits to Australia from wide scale implementation of tele-health may be in the vicinity of $2 billion to $4 billion dollars per annum.

Related Items

Does regionalization of local public health services influence public spending levels and allocative efficiency?

This paper uses a panel data set of Connecticut communities to offer several empirical insights...

More Than Implementing an Electronic Health Record - Innovation in Tasmanian Community Health

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) commenced a business initiative project called...

Videoconferencing could reduce the number of mental health patients transferred from outlying facilities to a regional mental health unit

To determine if the addition of a video link to the existing phone connection, enabling patients...

Share this with your friends

Footer Logo

Contact Us

Level 2, 53 Blackall Street
Barton ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6260 3733
or email us