In welcome news today, Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that the temporary MBS item numbers for telehealth introduced in March have now been made permanent. Telehealth has been hugely popular, and even better news is that neither Mr Hunt nor the Department of Health has been silly enough to take it away once the floodgates were opened. Hopefully further changes will be made in future to remove the requirement that the patient must have seen the GP in the previous 12 months to be eligible for MBS funded telehealth, which we have argued in the past is a backward step.
In a similarly retrograde step, New Zealand's Ministry of Health has dropped its directive that healthcare organisations ditch the use of analogue faxes by next month. It appears that the telecommunications providers are still supporting faxes for the time being, and from what New Zealand Doctor is reporting, those still using them for healthcare purposes weren't paying much attention to the ministry's directive anyway. The fax lives to fight another day.