Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (84)

Martin Heydon


84. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the opportunities that will arise in healthcare provision in areas such as remote general practitioner and medical monitoring services as a result of the roll out of the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21553/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Access to high-speed broadband is key to supporting digitalisation in the health system enabling the transformation of healthcare delivery for citizens, clinicians and health and social care service providers. eHealth, supported by enhanced broadband connectivity, will provide opportunities for the health system to deliver digital solutions, through telemedicine and telehealth, to empower patients to manage chronic disease at home. It will also provide opportunities for better connectivity for remote healthcare facilities such as small health centres, community pharmacies, and GP practices located in rural areas. Some care previously provided in hospitals may be transferred to the home as the use of wearables and other interactive devices allow the remote monitoring of vital signs or even administration of medicine. Remote monitoring can complement medical healthcare and reduce the requirement to attend day clinics far away from people's homes. It can also accelerate early discharge and relieve pressure in hospitals and hospices. This is important to create bed capacity and reduce long term stays in hospitals.

Faster connectivity can also facilitate ongoing professional development for healthcare professionals and provide access to experienced colleagues via video conferencing and better access to digital medical databases no matter the location of the medical professional.

The successful deployment of the NBP is one of the key pillars to delivery of a more efficient, effective and lower cost health system in Ireland.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 67.