How is Australia revolutionising its telehealth system?

Highlights

  • Telehealth services enable people living in remote areas to stay connected with their healthcare providers despite geographical barriers.
  • Australia has increased focus on developing telehealth services to help people access clinical advice and other healthcare services.
  • Aussies have grown preference for audio or video-enabled consultation instead of face-to-face consultations in clinics.

Staying deprived of medical services due to remote location or lack of medical establishments in areas of sparse population were common occurrences in the past. However, the upturn in technology and striking developments in the field of healthcare have eliminated such uncertainties and introduced people to the concept of telehealth.

While it may sound novel to some, it has become one of the well-embraced healthcare facilities today in Australia and worldwide, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Do read: Virtual care is booming amid pandemic: A glance at the pros and cons of telehealth

Australia is fast developing telecommunication techniques and infrastructure to make people across regions have easy access to telemedicine, clinical advice as well as healthcare services, defying geographical barriers between patients and medical professionals.

What is Telehealth & How Does Telehealth Work? - Kalkine Media

Meeting the growing inclination for telehealth in Australia

Visiting a virtual doctor

Image source: © Aleutie | Megapixl.com

The present-day situation has made telehealth a ‘new normal’ for all, be it the urban population or the far distant rural settlements. Everyone has developed a preference for a consultation through video or telephone over physical visits to clinics or any medical facilities. Thus, Australia too is giving way to well-planned development of telehealth services.

As per the Australian Digital Health Agency, over 88,250 practitioners delivered 79.6 million telehealth services to 15.7 million patients between March 2020 and October 2021. The country is working in the direction to elevate this number in the years ahead.  

Also read: Women use telehealth services more than men: ABS

Federal government levels up investments in telehealth space

Remote monitoring of patients’ health

Image source: © Elnur | Megapixl.com

In a bid to make telehealth a permanent feature of primary healthcare, the Australian government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed capital investment of AU$106 million to support permanent telehealth services over a period of four years.

The proceeds include a sum of AU$31.8 million for the Workforce Incentive Program (WIP). It will be utilised to fund general practices via the deployment of ongoing telehealth items in calculating SWPE (Standard Whole Patient Equivalent).

The government financial support for uplifting development in the telehealth space will allow greater flexibility for the delivery of healthcare services over phone or internet.

Interesting read: 3 Australian stocks from the booming telehealth space- ICR, PCK, HMD

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