Telehealth boost brings specialist care closer to home

Telehealth boost brings specialist care closer to home

More regional and rural Victorians will be able to attend specialist doctor appointments in the comfort of their home or local health service thanks to a new Victorian Government investment in telehealth.

Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy announced 15 successful projects that will share in $5 million from the 2016 Victorian Telehealth Specialist Clinic initiative.

The projects are designed to better connect patients to their medical specialists via the internet by setting up new or expanding existing telehealth services.

By using telehealth, top specialists from major metropolitan and regional hospitals can deliver face-to-face telehealth video consultations to rural patients securely online.

That means quicker and better access to medical specialists, as well as savings for patients and their families who no longer need to take time off work, travel long distances and pay for accommodation to get the care they need.

With easier access to their specialists, patients will enjoy better health outcomes with improved management and treatment of their health condition.

Consultations are carried out on a secure internet connection, ensuring privacy and confidentiality.

The projects will see many statewide services providing telehealth video consultations for the first time.

This includes Alfred Health’s burns, infectious diseases, lung transplant and HIV services, as well as Austin Health’s Victorian Respiratory Support Service and the Victorian Spinal Cord Service.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will expand specialist oncology outreach services to regional Victoria through the establishment of the Victorian Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Centre Telehealth Network, while Monash Health will expand access to paediatric specialists in Gippsland.

A project from the Royal Women’s Hospital will expand access to its Menopausal Services after Cancer program to more women in rural and regional Victoria via telehealth.

Meanwhile, Rural Northwest Health will work with the unique Flying Doctor Telehealth Specialist Service to improve access to endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, chronic disease and rheumatology services in North West Victoria.