Outlined below are the technical standards that apply to telehealth in New Zealand. It is important to realise that at present there is no body that regulates the application of these standards, or determines whether any particular video conferencing solution is acceptable in terms of quality, security and privacy. This is gernerally the case internationally however we have found a number of useful documents that give some guidance. CLICK HERE to access these documents.
The use of telehealth within New Zealand will continue to experience strong growth, and infrastructure projects such as ultrafast broadband and the rural broadband initiative will accelerate this. It is important, however, that organisations select networks and equipment that allow high levels of interoperability and functionality. If a number of isolated networks or incompatible endpoints are implemented, this will reduce the effectiveness of the telehealth system as a whole.
The following need to be key considerations when selecting new networks and equipment:
Equipment MUST support:
- Service Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) for session initiation, call signaling and control
- H.323 and E.164 endpoints for session initiation, call signaling and control
- H.264 AVC video encoding, creating a common standard for interoperability
- H.239 and Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP) allowing sharing of presentations and other content
- A minimum video resolution of 720p at 30 frames per second for general use
Equipment IDEALLY will support:
- A video resolution of 1080p recommended for clinical use
- Dual screens, especially where content is to be shared.
Videoconferencing Interoperability Standard
The National Health IT Board (NHITB) and Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO) recognised the need to specify standards to make sure the technologies and systems work well, are secure and talk to each other. The Videoconferencing Interoperability Standard provides guidance in procurement of videoconferencing and telepresence equipment. HISO 10049.1 Videoconferencing Interoperability Standard v2, April 2014
Careful consideration should be given to the network selection for telehealth. The Connected Health network is intended to support a consistent, national approach to interoperability and provide the basis of a fully interconnected health and disability sector for New Zealand. HISO 10037 Connected Health Network Connectivity Standards, September 2010. There are many other commercial, private, public networks - CLICK HERE for further network information
Health Information Security
The Health Information Security Framework (HISF) is designed to support organisations and practitioners holding personally identifiable health information to improve the security of that information. HISO 10029 Health Information Security Framework, August 2009