Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Telstra sets up new connected health unit, forms JV with Medgate

Iain Morris
October 29, 2014
 
Australian telecoms giant Telstra has launched a new healthcare division as well as set up a joint venture with Switzerland’s Medgate as it makes a concerted push into the connected health opportunity.

In a statement, the operator said its ambition was to become Australia’s leading provider of integrated e-health solutions.

“We’ve seen what the digital revolution has meant for other industries and we believe that healthcare in Australia could benefit from e-health to better serve all Australians,” said Gordon Ballantyne, Telstra’s group executive of retail.

The new Telstra Health division aims to be the “partner of choice” in the health industry, said Ballantyne, and brings together a number of e-health companies that Telstra (Melbourne, Australia) has previously acquired.

It is to be led by Shane Solomon, a former chief executive of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.

“Health spend is growing more than twice as fast as our economy to nearly 10% of GDP, from $120 billion in 2010 to an estimated $200 billion by 2020,” said Ballantyne. “Aging populations, chronic disease and equal access are just some of the challenges faced in bringing quality healthcare to every Australian across a fragmented system.”

One issue facing the country is the fact that seven million people live in rural areas where access to facilities can be suboptimal.

“We see our role as integrating eHealth solutions across all care settings to solve these industry challenges,” said Ballantyne. “Telstra Health is about connecting you to your doctor, your doctor to your other providers, and having access to care and information where you want, when you want.”

The Northern Territory Government has already formed a partnership with Telstra Health to build a National Telehealth Connection Service that will integrate e-health solutions – including connectivity, videoconferencing and scheduling – to bring specialist medical care to remote communities.

In addition, Telstra said that Silver Chain Group – an in-home health and care provider – will work with Telstra Health to help deliver specialist nursing care in the home.
The company will use Telstra’s e-health platform to more closely monitor the health of patients leaving hospital.

“Hospital medical staff will be able to access a secure portal to keep track of the services provided by Silver Chain and remotely monitor changes in the patient's condition,” said Ballantyne.

Meanwhile, the joint venture with Medgate (Basel, Switzerland) will be called Telstra ReadyCare and allow patients to speak directly with GPs over video or phone to receive advice, diagnosis, prescriptions and referrals.

The company will operate around the clock and address the estimated 2.2 million of emergency department presentations occurring annually that could have been treated by a GP, according to Ballantyne.
 
 
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