Telehealth can help end health service rationing

This story first appeared in the February 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Telehealth is a secure, reliable and convenient way to deliver care to people who might otherwise not receive it. However, by limiting access to Medicare-funded telehealth, Australia has for the first time in effect rationed Medicare. It is an injustice that our ‘universal’ healthcare system limits who can receive care.

Every day we see examples of a healthcare system under stress, a system that is crying out for innovation. Prolonged waiting times in emergency departments, GPs closing their books to new patients, and increasingly long specialist waiting lists represent only the tip of a very large iceberg. We’re struggling to meet demand.

Thankfully, we are finally starting to see change. The Australian health system is evolving to meet the challenges, and new technologies offer innovative and exciting opportunities for the medical profession to deliver care in more efficient and patient-centric ways.

One such innovation is telehealth. This service allows doctors to see their patients via the Internet using video conferencing and other technologies. All that’s required is access to a computer, tablet or smartphone with a good Internet connection.

The surge in computer literacy over the last 10 years, along with the structural changes associated with the limited inclusion of telehealth in the MBS in July 2011, has led to a rising wave of interest in telehealth.

To read the full story, click here for the February 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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