Establishing Telehealth in an institution, published this month in the Internal Medicine Journal, is the title of the fifth and latest in the Practical aspects of telehealth series of papers. According to the abstract the paper describes the development of a large teleoncology network over a vast geographical area in North Queensland, Australia.
The authors propose that the workforce, funding and infrastructure at rural sites, as well as the traditional mindset of healthcare professionals are key barriers to successful implementation of telehealth programmes. In the case of the Queensland teleoncology network, the rural hospital at Mt Isa, 900 km away from the central site, has been continually enhanced over a 5- to 6-year period. The success of the scheme is credited to these helping to overcome usual barriers.
Previous papers in this series are Practical aspects of telehealth: doctor patient relationship and communication, Practical aspects of telehealth: financial considerations (Journal in Internal Medicine), Practical aspects of telehealth: Are my patients suited to telehealth? and Practical aspects of telehealth: set-up and preparation for video consultations