WellSouth improves health services with the Gig

WellSouth is responsible for working with general practice to provide primary health care to the 300,000 people of Otago and Southland. This geographically spread area covers Kurow south to Stewart Island. WellSouth’s chief information officer, Kyle Forde, is using the Gig to help deliver improved health services.

WellSouth's chief information officer Kyle Forde
WellSouth’s chief information officer Kyle Forde

What is your role?

As chief information officer, I’m responsible for integrating the IT systems of WellSouth and primary health providers throughout the southern region. We also assist in rolling out the government shared services strategy for core IT infrastructure. Since joining WellSouth I have become passionate about using technology to enable a higher standard of healthcare. Access to fibre broadband makes this possible.

What attracted you to upgrade to gigabit fibre?

Our aim is to provide telehealth leadership nationally and internationally with the use of technology for primary health with a focus on rural communities. Gigabit fibre helps make this possible.
How has improved connectivity over fibre changed your business?

I’m focusing on rolling out HealthCloud, a secure health network for the 85 practices served by WellSouth. HealthCloud allows access to IT services through aggregated services. This is part of a larger collaboration with primary health organisations across the South Island to align with a government shared services strategy for core IT infrastructure. Access to gigabit services in Dunedin makes what was previously a dream, reality. With the gigabit connectivity options, and support from our IT integrators, Dunedin is becoming an infrastructure hub.

What improvements have you noticed since moving to gigabit fibre?

Clinicians across the region are logging on for their continued medical education (CME). It’s a simple thing that is making life easier for clinicians – they would rather spend time with patients than travel to and from training. Having the option of online training means they don’t have to waste a couple of hours in the car.

What opportunities are opening up for your business?

When reviewing video-conferencing platforms I hit upon the telemedicine system used in Alaska, ‘Vidyo’. Instantly I saw the opportunities it could offer to level the playing field throughout Otago and Southland and give everyone access to quality medical treatment. I jumped in and we’re now trialing it in rural practice.

Technology allows access to a connected world. For healthcare that means better outcomes for patients with doctors, clinicians and medical practices easily able to see their history and access information on the best treatment options. None of this would be possible without fibre.

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