Broadly applied, the term telehealth applies to the use of telecommunications to share healthcare services and information. In the Great South Coast, clients with chronic conditions stand to benefit the most from the development of telehealth initiatives. In 2011, the Federal Government announced that financial incentives would be available through Medicare to eligible practitioners and aged care services who help patients participate in a video consultation with a specialist, consultant physician or consultant psychiatrist.
Polycom CMA Desktop (Source Polycom website)
Telehealth Trial – Pain Clinic Trial
Patients suffering from chronic pain have few options to access specialist services, other than travelling long distances. A Telehealth trial has commenced to link local patients by video to a pain specialist in Melbourne. This is coordinated by a WDHS chronic pain nurse and the patient’s local GP.
SGG Primary Care Partnerships
SGG PCP is undertaking a scoping project, called Virtually Healthy: Making Telehealth Happen, which will develop detailed plans for initiatives that can be undertaken within the region to progress the implementation of teleconsultations. In addition, a summary of current state and federal funding, existing telehealth initiatives in the Southern Grampians and Glenelg Shires and examples of initiatives in use in other Primary Care Partnership catchments have been compiled.
SGGPCP member agencies were invited to participate in the project by helping to identify opportunities, barriers and challenges to implementing telehealth initiatives in their local areas. Selected members are also invited to work with SGGPCP to develop plans for local solutions. Six agencies were successful and workshops are underway with all participating agencies. These workshops will be used to formulate a project plan for implementation from July 2012.