Archive for January, 2003

VIRTUAL RADIOLOGY

Tuesday, January 28th, 2003

Hospitals and clinics in Australia’s remotest areas will benefit from the latest in diagnostic medical imaging based on a $1.2 million virtual private network (VPN) rolled out by Optus and national medical imaging company I-Med in August 2002.

The VPN connects hospitals and clinics, enabling them to transmit digital 3D radiology images within a secure and managed Internet-based network. A virtual network is more cost effective than a traditional network, as users do not have to pay to own or lease dedicated lines, but can be connected wherever there is an Internet connection.

Radiologists based in major medical centers throughout Australia are able to view digital 3D images from rural hospitals and respond with a diagnosis to medical staff online – a process described as teleradiology.

With 1.5MB per second transmission and data prioritizing capability, massive radiological images can be transmitted quickly over the Optus network without impacting the performance for other users and applications.

CT scans using the latest equipment are complex and can be made up of up to 1400 separate images. These images can then be combined to create digital 3D models, which are rotated or viewed as a “virtual fly through” of body structures and organs for faster and more accurate diagnosis.

Teleradiology over a VPN will have an immediate impact on patient care as digital X-rays and three dimensional CT scans can be transmitted in minutes. For smaller and regional practices that do not have onsite radiologists, this will save precious time, eliminating the need to courier X-ray film or transport patients.

Already 39 clinics are connected to the I-Med VPN with plans to extend to 110 sites throughout Australia. In addition, dial up connections have been provided to 33 locations nationally to service mobile doctors.

Hosted at Optus’ Sydney data center, the VPN is monitored 24 hours a day, ensuring remedial action is taken within five minutes if a fault occurs anywhere in Australia.

See also: Australia – Tele-conferencing, -working, -medicine.

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DISTANCE LEARNING

Tuesday, January 28th, 2003

The Distance Education Directory 2001 listed over 1,700 external study courses, a clear indication of a market for remote learning facilities such as the Internet.

One of the high profile examples of distance learning came from the Television Open Learning Project, broadcast through the ABC to TV and radio audiences. The Project developed into the Open Learning Agency of Australia in 1991, funded by the federal government and trading under the name Open Learning Australia. It maintains links to the ABC and also offers considerable Internet-based resources and support.

See also: Australia – Tele-education.

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UNIVERSITIES ONLINE

Tuesday, January 28th, 2003

The most authoritative survey of tertiary education services made available online was completed in December 2001 by the Department for Education, Science and Training (DEST). Data from 40 of Australia’s 43 universities was collected in the second half of 2001 and presented at the end of the year. The key queries concerned how many:
Online courses – all units and interaction between staff and students fully online;
Online units – some units and some interaction conducted online;
Online services – university services for students accessible online.

The survey revealed that 23 of the 40 responding universities (57.5%) offered online courses, with teen of the 23 offering undergraduate courses, and all 23 offering postgraduate courses.

See also: Australia – Tele-education.

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Entry to the superhighway

Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

In late 2002, Rotterdam was piloting fibre optic connections to 7,000 homes with the ultimate goal of connecting the entire city. The city notes that fibre optic cables are available in the city’s backbone networks, but that the first mile connection from the customer’s home to the backbone is not fibre optic cable. From the customer’s perspective, this home connection is the first mile, not the last mile of a supplier’s network. This is like a multi-lane highway with no entry and exit lanes for people to use it.

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Council’s role and benefits

Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

Rotterdam manages the construction work for the pilots in Lloydkwartier and Nesselande, a 7,000 home area and 60,000m2 business park. The Council will take a share of the ultimate proceeds to cover these construction costs. This minimises the need for digging up roads because the council understands the underground space and housing layouts. In addition, managing the construction stops commercial interests from cherry picking the profitable areas over the unprofitable areas. Money from the service in profitable areas covers the unprofitable areas.

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