EMBRACING THE NEW: Therapy Connect co-founder Simone Dudley said many clients are open to online therapy and the privacy it affords in small communities.

EMBRACING THE NEW: Therapy Connect co-founder Simone Dudley said many clients are open to online therapy and the privacy it affords in small communities.

Making the right connections

nbn a"'game changer" for digital health

Health
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nbn a"'game changer" for digital health

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As the nbn™ build nears completion, NBN Co is turning its focus to digital adoption and digital health features, and joined forces with the National Rural Health Alliance to host the industry's first digital health roundtable in early November, which brought together government, practitioners and hardware/software and network providers to discuss digital health adoption.

Head of Stakeholder Relations at nbn Sam Dimarco said with the end in sight, they were focusing on regional initiatives such as digital health, education, ag-tech and tourism.

"In less than 10 months all Australian homes and businesses will be able to connect to a service via a phone or internet provider," he said.

"This means that the connectivity issue has been solved, we now need to work with health providers, government agencies and technology providers to ensure that the elements required to power digital health mesh seamlessly."

WIDE REACH: Therapy Connect's 23 practitioners are located all over Australia and work remotely, never actually seeing their clients face to face.

WIDE REACH: Therapy Connect's 23 practitioners are located all over Australia and work remotely, never actually seeing their clients face to face.

National Rural Health Alliance CEO Dr Gabrielle O'Kane said that while adoption of digital health practices was in its infancy, its scope was very broad and heavily reliant on all parties, including the patient, working together to drive adoption.

"There are two challenges we observe with digital health adoption; Capability - having the means by which to connect patients with providers, and Digital Ability and willingness to consult online," she said.

Read more:Closing the gap

Therapy Connect, founded by Simone Dudley and Sue Cameron, who both live in regional areas of Australia, provides speech and occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy and dietetics to clients all over Australia and into Asia, all online via telepractice through a team of 23 health practitioners, who also live all over Australia, work remotely and never meet their clients face to face.

Therapy Connect co-director, Simone Dudley said that the nbn™ was a 'game changer' for her.

"Connecting online in the early days of Therapy Connect was problematic; I had to travel into town to gain access to an internet connection that would enable me to connect to clients. Many of my clients around Australia also had poor internet connection," she said.

"We now have reliable connection as do most of our clients around Australia.

"Our clients are very open to engaging in online consultation, as they have increased access to a range of services when they need them and they save time and money by not having to travel."

"We also find that those in smaller tight knit communities are more open to working online as it provides the element of privacy."

NBN Co is a partner in the Future Focus Project

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