Telehealth: The Rural Connectivity Divide
Telehealth services have been on the rise for several years now. Since March 2020 telehealth services have skyrocketed and new temporary MBS telehealth items have been made available to help reduce the risk of community transmission of coronavirus and provide protection for patients and health care providers. Over 56 million MBS telehealth services have been delivered to 13.6 million patients in need of health care in regional, rural and remote Australia since the start of 2020, Medicare data has shown. With more than 83,540 providers having used telehealth services. Which is why as part of the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government is investing more than $114 million to extend Telehealth until the end of the year.
Telehealth can assist healthcare systems, organisations, and providers expand access to and improve the quality of rural healthcare. Using telehealth in rural areas to deliver and assist with the delivery of healthcare services can reduce or minimise challenges and burdens patients encounter. It can also improve monitoring, timeliness, and communications within the healthcare system.
Using information and communications technologies (ICTs) to deliver health services and transmit information over both long and short distances. It is about transmitting voice, data, images and information rather than moving care recipients, health professionals or educators. It encompasses diagnosis, treatment, preventive (educational) and curative aspects of healthcare services and typically involves care recipient(s), care providers or educators in the provision of these services directed to the care recipient.
Video conferencing is the preferred approach for substituting a face-to-face consultation and is one of the main ways of improving access to healthcare services for patients who live in regional, rural and remote areas.
“While Telehealth has been an important lifeline for people in rural, regional and remote Australia during the pandemic connectivity remains a big issue in rural Australia, and we need to be improving internet infrastructure in the bush otherwise telehealth is difficult or impossible for patients and health practitioners to use,” said National Rural Health Alliance CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane.
Although internet infrastructure is available to almost all Australians, more than 2.5 million remain offline, the take up of the NBN continues to close the gap in access for rural Australia, however, there are substantial differences in digital inclusion between Australians living in rural and urban areas.
Telehealth is only as good as the bandwidth it occupies.
The current lockdown restrictions have created an unprecedented demand for connectivity, as we settle into the ‘new normal’, the need for innovative connectivity solutions is now more critical than ever.
The Cellferno is a revolutionary product, brand new to the Australian market, developed using innovative mobile technology which delivers high-speed data for basic internet access to mission-critical applications. Connectivity is the new currency in light of current global restrictions, with connectivity solutions like Cellferno critical for consumers and businesses in order to digitally navigate restrictions.
Cellferno can provide users with super-fast internet speeds and connectivity, with the single box design containing multiple antennas and a built-in modem to capture the best possible signal outdoors. With a single ethernet cable powering the Cellferno device, it can be connected directly to a computer, network switch or a WIFI access point to provide high-speed internet to devices within range.
Cellferno’s focus is on speed, it can act as a primary internet for areas with poor internet, cellular or NBN service with speeds up to 2.5Gb/s. The Cellferno M2000 5G Fixed Wireless unit provides multi-gigabit data speeds by combining both 4G and 5G carriers. Supporting the latest 5G NR standard along with an incredible Cat-22 4G LTE chipset. The unit has dual-sim redundancy, IP67 weatherproof casing that supports Australia’s temperature extremes, this unit is ideal for enterprise and industrial customers demanding high data rates with high reliability.
“The need for better connectivity has never before been so critical, with more people staying at home, organisations setting up pop-up work zones, businesses using online tools or platforms, and the necessity of web-based learning.”
“Cellferno is an extension to Powertec’s current mobile broadband product offering, providing an additional high-speed connectivity solution to our product portfolio.” Powertec Product Manager, Paul Boyce.
In this current climate of wireless dependency, Cellferno delivers the ultimate high-speed internet connectivity solution, especially where cable-based internet is not available. The Cellferno has allowed Powertec to provide fast reliable internet connectivity to clients in a previously fragmented area. The fixed wireless solution is taking on the NBN, or inadequate broadband connections, across many rural areas across Australia.
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