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Health projects share $20 million in NBN grants

A medical imaging system that will help doctors in city hospitals diagnose eye diseases in remote indigenous communities is among the ''telehealth'' projects that will share $20 million in grant money from Labor.

The Gillard government will announce on Wednesday afternoon the nine funding recipients to trial new methods of health care delivery over the national broadband network.

The projects will reach about 2500 patients in 50 areas connected to the NBN, the government said.

One of the more eye-catching winning proposals, designed by the CSIRO, is to give ''tele-eye care services'' via satellite for 900 elderly and indigenous Australians living in remote Western Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.Other winning ideas include a ''virtual'' nursing service in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, and a cancer self-management program in the Hunter.

The Minister for Communications and Broadband, Stephen Conroy said he hoped the ideas would show ''how important high-speed broadband is to the future of healthcare''.

''Healthcare doesn't only happen in a hospital, and aged care doesn't always mean having to go into a nursing home,'' he said.

The telehealth pilot follows a trial in Townsville where diabetes patients took their own blood pressure and blood glucose levels and sent the readings over the internet to their carers.

When a patient's readings fell outside parameters set by their GP, the patient could consult their doctor from home in a three-way video conference with the carer.