We asked the views of potential users of a proposed Canadian broadband Internet Protocol (IP) network for health, the Alberta SuperNet. The three user groups were drawn from the public, provider and private sectors. In all, 35 health-sector participants were selected (17 government, nine health-care organizations, five providers/practitioners and four private sector). The questionnaire was Web-based, semistructured and self-administered. It consisted of four major areas: value, readiness, effect on usual care and limitations. A total of 28 (80%) individuals responded to the questionnaire: 21 (81%) were from the public sector (three provincial, nine regional and nine organizational), three (60%) were from the provider sector and four (100%) were from the private sector. Overall, the items related to health services and health human resources were considered to be the most valuable to rural communities. Respondents identified the expansion of telehealth services as the most important, except those from the private sector, who ranked this a close second. The health system's move to the use of electronic health records was ranked second in importance by all respondents. The private-sector respondents viewed all user groups to be generally less ready (mean score 2.5 on a seven-point scale from 1 = not ready to 7 = ready), while the public-sector respondents were the most optimistic (mean score 4.0). Specific socioeconomic impact data were limited. The top-ranked disadvantage of the 10 suggested was that 'Changes in health-service delivery practices and/or processes will be required'.
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