- by: Bernard Salt, Social Editor
- From: The Australian
- August 29, 2013
Thursday, September 05, 2013
This Is A Very Important Factor In The Uptake of E-Health. We Have A Good Distance To Travel Yet.
This appeared a few days ago.
THERE is a digital divide in this nation and it has nothing to do with the National Broadband Network and its rollout, or lack thereof.
It has to do with who has and who does not have home access to the internet. This question has been asked at the past two censuses so it's possible to see where the digital divide lies. And as far as I can see access to the internet in the home is seeping out from the knowledge workers of the inner city to embrace the ordinary and the aspirational of middle Australia on the very edges of the city.
Between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, there was a 16 percentage point lift in the proportion of households with access to the internet. The type of access - broadband, dial-up, wireless - is not relevant to the existence and the course of the digital divide. Rather, the question is whether some parts of metropolitan Australia are being left behind in the digital revolution. At the 2011 census, 79 per cent of households had internet access; based on recent growth rates this proportion now is probably closer to 85 per cent, although there are some parts of the nation where the rate of household internet access exceeds 90 per cent.
The digital cognoscenti live in an odd collection of places such as the curiously named Pleasure Point near Voyager Park in Sydney's southwest; 92 per cent of Pleasure Point's population have internet access. Pleasure Point is a new infill, and clearly aspirational, housing development; internet access is part of the suite of services regarded as de rigueur in selling new homes.
Other areas where internet access today is likely to exceed 95 per cent of households includes Melbourne's Docklands, Brisbane's Burbank and Perth's Burns Beach. The common denominator for these digital hot spots is that they appeal to large families where both partners work and where there are teenagers and/or young adults still living at home, or they are the preferred location for professional singles and couples who would most likely work in the knowledge industry.
But this is not to say that there aren't places within metropolitan Australia where internet access in the home is limited. In suburbs dominated by public housing, internet access hovers about the 66 per cent mark. For example, in the Sydney postcode 2559 that centres on Claymore in the city's southwest, just 62 per cent of households have internet access. Similarly low levels of internet access dominate Ardeer in Melbourne, Athol Park in Adelaide, Dinmore in Brisbane and Balga in Perth.
The digital divide is real; it can mean the difference between one-third of households having or not having internet access. In Sydney, the digital divide separates Pleasure Point from Claymore; in Melbourne it separates Docklands from Ardeer; in Brisbane it separates Burbank from Dinmore.
But there is evidence from the censuses that the digital divide is shrinking. Those suburbs where home internet access was poorest in 2006 are generally those places that recorded most percentage-point growth. For example, in the Adelaide suburb of Athol Park internet access lifted 31 percentage points from 34 per cent to 65 per cent across the five years to 2011.
Lots more here:
Considering this information in the light of our e-Health needs what we see is that we are moving ever closer to full access to e-Health applications on the internet. However we need to remember that many of the target groups for things such a patient portals and the PCEHR are sadly those who either do not have access or who are not all this skilled in its use (the target groups being the aged and those with chronic illness and disability.)
The source document on which this is based is found here:
The effects of age, household income and location are all very important.
With less than 50% of those under having internet access and with only 60% of the lowest wealth quartile having internet access we really do have a way to go.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Thursday, September 05, 2013