The $20.6 million NBN Enabled Telehealth Pilots Program is a new government initiative in response to the Government’s Digital Economy Goal for health and aged care.
Call for applications:
Final guidelines will be released with a call for applications in March 2012, with applications to close six weeks later. Funding Agreements are expected to commence July 2012.
For more information on the program, contact Ms Kate Rose at NBNtelepilots@health.gov.au or by phone at (02) 6289 9160.
The Program will provide funding to successful proposals for pilot projects to develop and deliver telehealth services to NBN-enabled homes with a focus on aged, palliative or cancer care services, including advance care planning services. By providing better access to health services to homes within NBN early release sites, the Program will investigate and demonstrate opportunities for the extension of telehealth services in the future and the business case for doing so.
The aim of the Program is to develop and trial services which demonstrate how, for example:
- Telehealth services can be delivered to the home in new and innovative ways, enabled by the high speed, reliable broadband provided by the NBN;
- Health services can become more accessible, in regional, rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas;
- Health related transport needs can be reduced;
- Consumers can collaborate and communicate with their carers and health service providers to improve quality of care and health outcomes;
- A reduction in unnecessary hospitalisation;
- Telehealth services are scalable and able to provide an increased volume of care without a corresponding increased cost;
- Location dependent or regional health workforce skills shortages may be mitigated;
- Use of the infrastructure may increase healthcare access and reduce social isolation; and
- Communication during health emergencies could be improved.
The NBN will provide a platform that allows homes, doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies, clinics, aged-care facilities and allied health professionals to connect to affordable, reliable, high-speed and high-capacity broadband. This represents a major opportunity to improve the way healthcare is delivered in Australia.
How much funding is available?
Up to $20.6 million (GST exclusive) of the Program funding will be available to fund projects over the life of the Program.
The amount of funding provided for individual Telehealth Pilots will generally be around $1 million to $3 million (GST exclusive). Higher levels of funding may be available for Pilot projects that are able to demonstrate exceptional prospective benefits.
What does the funding cover?
Funding can be used for capital and infrastructure purposes. Some examples of the appropriate funds usage are:
- equipment, for example tablet devices or computers;
- service provider computers;
- service delivery (unless this is funded through alternative sources);
- staffing and on-costs;
- administrative costs (including legal, accounting and insurance); and
- costs to support the local steering / reference group.
Draft program guidelines for the telehealth pilot program have been released today for consultation. The guidelines can be accessed at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ehealth-nbntelehealth-pilots Final guidelines will be released when applications open in February/March 2012.
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