Sunday, October 06, 2013

It Seems Some Who Probably Need A NEHRS Record Are Really Going To Struggle To Get To First Base.

This appeared last week.

Disadvantaged and disconnected in a digital divide

Date October 1, 2013

Daniella Miletic

Michael Dalli's old black Nokia mobile is ringing, so the 42-year-old excuses himself to answer it. Softly spoken, the wheelchair-bound father of one politely tells the caller he is busy and to ring back in half an hour. Then he apologises for taking the call. ''It's a pre-paid phone and I try not to exceed $50 a year,'' he explains.
To avoid using his credit, he always answers his mobile. He has no voicemail, does not text and saves calls ''just for emergencies''. In the age of smartphones, he also does not have mobile access to the internet. More pressingly, there is no internet connection in his Sunshine West home - he can't afford it.
''It's almost like I have a double disability,'' he said. ''I have multiple sclerosis, I'm confined to a wheelchair, but I feel like my other senses are also being denied because I don't have access to the internet.''
Each week, Mr Dalli makes a trip to his brother's house at Caroline Springs to use his computer to find and apply for jobs. A new Anglicare Victoria report finds Mr Dalli is not alone - and that a lack of access to the internet is exacerbating the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Surveying more than 300 people who needed emergency relief and financial counselling services, the researchers found nearly half (49 per cent) did not have an internet connection and more than half (56 per cent) did not have access to a mobile phone.
Lots more with some useful statistics.
This is a quite sad article I believe. The people who might just benefit from the PCEHR and people who really will struggle to access the PCEHR as sadly likely to be the very same.
Have we reached the stage where provision of basic internet services should be treated as a community right? We must be getting close to taking that step if we hope to make our country one where everyone can access the electronic services they need from Government.
What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. One is disadvantaged if one cannot get to the internet for so many things these days.
But you can still have a PCEHR and not log into it. Your healthcare providers can see it, and you might be able to see it over their shoulder. But you won't be able to personally control it, unless you ring some 1800 number somewhere. I can imagine a very difficult conversation as the operator explains to you how access can be controlled and then fixes your access for you. To do this they would need to see your record. Is it possible? More likely you would just give up and live with the default full access by everyone, or ask for your record to be cancelled. It seems it is not really 'personally controllable' unless you are rich and have access to the internet.