3 December 2020
After introducing telehealth as a temporary measure during COVID-19, the Health Ministers announced on 27 November 2020 that telehealth will become a permanent part of the Medicare system.
Over the past year, we have seen a massive shift in the way medical services are delivered - via telehealth services and e-prescribing - something that practitioners and national organisations have been advocating for years.
This forced change in the delivery of services has proven that patients, regardless of their age, gender or social stance, have embraced this new way of receiving health care, and now the government has announced that telehealth is here to stay.
Use and accessibility of technology has made it almost seamless for both the provider and the patient to transition to non face-to-face consultations. For many parts of the world telehealth is the ‘norm’.
Reliant and robust telecommunications systems need to be accessible all around the nation, not just in major cities. There will always be a need for face to face consultations, no-one can argue with that, but there should be no reason why both types of services cannot work in unison.
Of course, at the centre of all decisions is the patient. The continuity of care for the patient must be at the forefront to ensure care does not become disjointed or fragmented.
Finally, practitioners need to be supported through appropriate remuneration for the delivery of telehealth consultations.
At the time of publication, detail has not been released regarding how permanent telehealth will operate or what funding is attached - we will provide further updates as details come to hand.
The team at Cutcher & Neale are here to help, please get in touch if you would like further assistance.