Monica’s prize-winning discussion of telehealth substitution at the Princess Alexandra Hospital is available, here.
Numerous studies have shown that telehealth improves access to quality healthcare for Australians living in rural and remote areas.
Research now shows that telehealth has the potential to transform health services in metropolitan areas too, by offering convenient appointments for patients and reducing costs. Substituting telehealth for traditional outpatient appointments could be the next step forward.
In-home videoconferencing is the most feasible way metropolitan patients could attend a telehealth outpatient consultation.
The opportunities for in-home care have never been better, with the increased availability of broadband internet connections and user-friendly video-conferencing software.
In Queensland, the uptake of telehealth is supported and incentivised by activity-based funding for video consultations, regardless of patient location.
The expansion of telehealth, especially into the home, would undoubtedly be accelerated by relaxing geographic restrictions on national Medicare funding for metropolitan consultations.