Global Telehealth 2010, held in the Indian Ocean seaport of Fremantle, Western Australia, was the 15th International Meeting of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth. An even more significant milestone for this meeting was that it was the first national conference of the Australasian Telehealth Society, which was formed only in 2008. The meeting adopted as its theme “Telehealth for every nation, community and home”, reflecting the many scales on which telehealth is practised, from multi-national initiatives to home and community-based projects. The Ambassador for eHealth for the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, addressed the meeting through a pre-recorded message in which he said “the world is relying on your work to build a better future”.
While Australian delegates comprised about two-thirds of the delegates, 21 other countries were represented in the delegate list, which totalled 170. 51 papers were accepted for oral or poster presentations, and 20 of the long papers were published as Volume 161 in the prestigious book series Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, published by IOS Press. The meeting was preceded by six workshops, which allowed some of the speakers (including several of the invited keynote presenters) to expand on their expertise in an intimate, interactive environment. The keynote speakers covered a range of topics including Telecare (Malcolm Fisk), global and environmental issues (Richard Scott), human factors in image-based applications (Elizabeth Krupinski) and international surgical training (Shuji Shimizu). Several themes emerged during the meeting; one was the provision of services to underserved populations, especially in remote Australia or Africa. It was indeed fitting that the meeting was held in Western Australia, where health services need to be delivered over distances longer than in almost any other health jurisdiction on earth. Another topic which received some discussion was sustainability of telehealth projects. The imminent deployment of the National Broadband Network in Australia and its implications for telehealth delivery formed another focus for several of the presentations, while mobile applications were also highlighted in many presentations.
The meeting was well supported by industry, with fully subscribed sponsorship and a busy trade display from twenty manufacturers and other organisations.