Telecommunications and health information for multicultural Australia

Public health Multiculturalism Information technology Australia Victoria

The Australian Health Workforce Institute at the University of Melbourne conducted a study exploring how people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living in one region within Melbourne's North use telecommunications (telephones and the internet) to access health information.

In particular the team wanted to know whether members of these communities use landline telephones, mobile phones and/or the internet to access information about health and well-being, and health services, and determine any particular needs or characteristics of this group in accessing health care providers and information.
More than a quarter of the people living in Australia were born overseas (27% - ABS, 2010). Australia’s population is rapidly growing and many people arrive in the country every month. In addition, by 2020 there will be more people over retirement age than ever before and many of these people will need help and care from the health service. Chronic disease is also on the increase and this means that the future health workforce will have to meet more demand for their services than we have experienced in the past.
This has led many researchers and policy-makers to believe that telecommunications can play a key role in the delivery of health services. This study looked at the role telecommunications services can play in healthcare delivery by examining how individuals from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community interact with healthcare providers.
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