Just a few years ago, governments and the medical community were entrenched in a debate over whether telehealth is a viable solution for healthcare delivery. Today, almost all parts of the world have telehealth-enabled healthcare models. The Australian government has recently set a great example of a flexible and virtual healthcare model by announcing a big investment in telehealth.
The government has dedicated AUD $308.6 million to strengthen the primary healthcare system of Australia, of which AUD $106 million would go into telehealth which will now be a permanent feature of Australian primary health care.
Investing AUD $106 million over the next four years in support of telehealth services would enable patients to access better and flexible options for healthcare. GPs, specialists, and allied health professionals can make use of the benefits of telehealth and continue to offer consultations and follow-ups through remote care without adding undue burden to specialist and emergency departments.
Telehealth significantly helped hundreds of thousands of Australians consume healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a successful model in protecting the health of patients and healthcare providers. More than 16 million patients benefited from 86.3 million COVID-19 Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth services, and more than 89,000 healthcare providers resorted to telehealth due to the pandemic.
It’s great to see that national government making a strong commitment to providing better primary healthcare through flexible systems that give more of its citizens access to services.