In 2011 the Australian Government established new organisations called Medicare Locals to plan and fund [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Medicare-Local-Logo.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]extra health services in communities across Australia. Country South South Australia Medicare Local (CSSAML), one such Medicare Local, has been very active in promoting telehealth/telemedicine in its region covering just over 7% of South Australia.
Health areas to which telehealth has been directed by CSSAML include psychiatry, psychology, gastroenterology and cardiology. Videophones in GP practices and non-hospital settings provide telepsychology, telepsychiatry and other specialist services to support GP’s in rural communities via the State Government’s Digital Telehealth Network; telehealth consultations have begun between a gastroenterologist and an NGO office, which is the pre-cursor to initiating monthly half day video consulting sessions; a cardiologist will soon be able to supply services to GP practices at five remote locations.
The benefit to these remote communities is great. For every two post-colonoscopy patients receiving video-consultations, one new patient can be seen face-to-face. Dr Tidman, operating the cardiology service is quoted in the February 2014 issue of the CSSAML newsletter as saying that he conducts 40% of his consultations via telehealth.
The Australian Government is investing more than $1.8 billion so Medicare Locals can coordinate and deliver important health services including eHealth. Medicare Locals are said to employ more than 3,000 frontline health workers.