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Video network brings better health - and more - to rural Australia

  • 21 July, 2004 10:28

<p>Young children fighting cancer and refugees trying to start a better life - these are just a few of the thousands of people whose lives are being bettered by the state-of-the-art Polycom video conferencing network covering much of northern New South Wales.</p>
<p>The NBN Telethon Telehealth Centre, located at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, is the nerve centre of the network, which has 18 video conferencing facilities at district hospitals spread across half-a-million square kilometres.</p>
<p>Created using Polycom video conferencing technology, the network’s primary function is to improve health services throughout the Hunter region by defeating the twin tyrannies of distance and cost.</p>
<p>“The network is all about using technology to help create a healthier community,” said Telehealth Manager, Tony Green. “People can see, hear and interact with each other as if they were in the same room.”</p>
<p>“Some of our district hospitals are more than two hour’s drive from Newcastle so a visiting doctor for example, can waste most of a day sitting in a car going backwards and forwards. Polycom’s video conferencing technology greatly increases their efficiency - travel time is now used to diagnose patients and aid their recovery.”</p>
<p>Doctors and medical specialists use the network to assess patients, and manage their conditions before, during and after treatment. The specialties covered include psychiatry, paediatric oncology, nephrology (renal), general surgery, and speech pathology.</p>
<p>“While doctor/patient meetings are usually one-on-one, the network is also heavily used for wider meetings and in fact we can connect 16 sites which is pretty amazing.”</p>
<p>“Doctors from across the region can gather together in a video conference to discuss patient care, there are also regular tutorials and lectures for medical students and registrars. The capacity of the network allows full interaction, including collaboration on documentation, which all leads to better patient care,” said James Anderson, Polycom Country Manager, Australia and New Zealand.</p>
<p>To ensure maximum community benefit, and to partially offset costs, the network is also used by external groups which bring a wider range of assistance. These groups include the Department of Community Services, the Refugee Tribunal, district and local courts, and a number of commercial service providers.</p>
<p>“The benefits created by the network are very powerful,” said Mr Green.</p>
<p>“People living in rural Australia deserve the same level of support that’s available in urban areas and through video conferencing we are helping to providing that - for patients, medical staff and people in the wider community.”</p>
<p>About Polycom
Polycom, Inc. is the world's technology leader of high-quality, easy-to-use video, voice, data and web conferencing and collaboration solutions. The Polycom Office(TM) is our continued commitment to make distance communications as natural and interactive as being there by providing best-in-class conferencing solutions that are interoperable, integrated and intuitive to the user. The Polycom Office is based on industry standards and supported by an open architecture that promotes interoperability in multi-vendor environments and complements leading network infrastructure platforms. For additional information, call 1 800 355 355 or visit the Polycom web site at <http:>.</http:></p>
<p>Polycom and the Polycom logo are registered trademarks and The Polycom Office is a trademark of Polycom in the U.S. and various countries. ©2003, Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved.</p>
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