Diabetes care fits broadband well: Rillstone

A project to improve the management of diabetes as a "demonstrator" for the community value of broadband is likely to be based on the model developed by South Auckland DHBs, says Ministry of Health e-regions link-man Mike Rillstone.

A project to improve the management of diabetes as a “demonstrator” for the community value of broadband is likely to be based on the model developed by South Auckland DHBs, says Ministry of Health e-regions link-man Mike Rillstone (pictured).

E-regions, a new community-driven organisation, is calling for demonstrations of projects that use broadband for practical economic, social and community development. The South Auckland development uses a combination of the department’s Health Intranet and the Healthlink messaging service.

Broadband is “a natural fit” for such an application, with its requirement for various kinds of communication among the large number of parties typically involved in the management of a disease. Connectivity is always an obstacle to co-ordination among hospital, visiting healthcare workers, family, local GP and others typically involved with the same patient, Rillstone says.

The potential geographical reach, the always-on nature of broadband and the security and privacy measures that can be superimposed on a dedicated link are elements of that relevance.

“We couldn’t do this over the general internet.”

Besides, a dial-up connection would carry the inconvenience of continually having to spend time logging on, perhaps in an emergency.

Such a project also fits well into the e-regions organisational structure, with its multi-level involvement of community and local and central government, Rillstone notes.

It is too early in the process to comment on the detail of how the South Auckland model might be enhanced under e-regions, he says.

Besides “the ministry is a follower not a leader in this project. It’s very important to maintain that model; a project like this can only be successful with buy-in from the local community.”

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