Cyber utopia and telehealth take-up

Telehealth was again in the news this week with a couple of surveys out looking at patient and clinician views on their experiences with telehealth. While one survey of patients found a pretty good reception from patients and the other of clinicians showing similar, there still remain some technical barriers that are likely to dog telehealth take-up in primary care, specifically video-based telehealth, for the foreseeable future.

There was some criticism of the value of both of these surveys in the comments, and we particularly liked one reader's description of “cyber utopian views” of telehealth that ignore the real problems faced by patients in regional areas and older patients. Her practice uses video conferencing as a last resort, Shona Gallagher says, listing a number of real-world examples of why. Victorian GP Andrew Baird is a student of all things telehealth, and he is keen to hear of other people's experiences with video consultations. We'd like to know more as well, especially if you too have experienced telehealth at Bunnings.

Queensland Health got a bit of a talking to this week with the release of the Queensland auditor-general's report into some cost and implementation over-runs for its new finance and supply chain management system. We don't normally cover non-clinical IT but the auditor-general's report offered a warning to Queensland Health about its project governance frameworks, which have got it into trouble in the past.

With a renewed procurement for the statewide patient administration system HBCIS on the cards in the new year – following a few recent problems with the cancellation of the laboratory information system and the pause in the roll-out of the electronic medical record – Queensland Health has been told to get its house in order before attempting this massive project again.

The new year will also probably see the discussion around secondary use of data in the My Health Record start up, which is sure to erupt into another bun fight. Good thing then that the former Commonwealth Ombudsman and former Information Commissioner John McMillan is on the case with an independent review of the legislation underpinning the system under way. We imagine that the large brigade of perpetually outraged pundits who absolutely hate the My Health Record are cranking up their criticism as we speak. If you'd like to have a go too, you may do so here. Remember to get in before October 21.

Late this week, the Department of Health agreed to extend the use of image-based prescribing until the end of March 2021, joining several other initiatives introduced in March 2020 to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the results of our poll from last week, when just 28 per cent of readers said they had tried ePrescriptions versus 72 per cent who had not, this is a sensible decision.

And in late breaking news, US president Donald Trump has COVID-19. As satirist Mark Humphries tweeted, we wish him a speedy recovfefe.

That brings us to our poll question for the week:

Is the ease of use of video-based consultations overhyped?

Vote here and feel free to leave your comments below.


0 # Deana 2020-10-02 18:51
There are a range of variables that can influence a user to adopt Telehealth. These range from bandwidth through to general operation efficiencies (dual screens/adequat e instruction). Telehealth needs to continue as a valid option as it will play a critical role in supporting a shrinking workforce and aging population. The elderly will be the ones who will benefit the most from Telehealth, RPM and AI.
0 # Beth Sperring 2020-10-05 11:21
Telehealth boggles the mind. There is so much potential and yet so many aspects from connectivity to skill levels that need to be improved so we have a user friendly, effective, review process for patients and clinicians. COVID has pushed Telehealth into the limelight. Now for technology that supports the process and building of skills within the workforce to support its use. The result - clinicians and patients confident in the outcome of the review process - in all health settings.

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