Coleman urges take up of telehealth in practice

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has officially launched the New Zealand Telehealth Resource Centre website, a joint partnership between the NZ Telehealth Forum and Mobile Health Solutions.

The site aims to help encourage the uptake of telehealth by health professionals across the country, bringing together case studies on existing telehealth services as well as easy access to guidelines and technical information, such as the safe use of Skype.

Case studies include the use of telehealth in a number of setting, such as after-hours GP care and diabetes care by the Opotiki Telehealth Community and a remote wound care clinic run out of Christchurch for patients in Kaikoura.

Canterbury DHB also provides paediatric outpatients clinics by telehealth to children living on the West Coast, while Southern DHB provides care to children in Central Otago with diabetes through a paediatric diabetes telemedicine clinic.

Developed by Mobile Health, which in addition to delivering elective day surgeries in mobile units to rural parts of New Zealand also provides continuing education to rural health professionals through its high-speed telepresence network, the centre also provides site visits, workshops and demonstrations.

Dr Coleman said telehealth was changing the way healthcare was delivered and was a good example of how the sector is harnessing IT to provide better services to patients closer to home.

“It means people living in rural or remote areas can access the same specialist care as those living in urban areas without having to travel great distances,” he said at the official launch. “Equally, telehealth is useful in busy urban environments or where a patient is not easily able to travel.

“As there are a number of different systems and a variety of equipment providers can use, it is important health professionals are receiving the right information and advice.

“I encourage all health professionals in New Zealand to consider whether there are opportunities for them to include telehealth in their practice.”

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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