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Telehealth Gains Support from Down Under

May 11, 2012
at 11:29 am PST

Earlier this year the Australian federal government announced it would provide up to $20.6 million, to fund telehealth programs from Australian health organizations, over the next two years in what will be referred to as the National Broadband Network (NBN) Enabled Telehealth Pilots Program.

The overall goal of the program is to enable better access to high quality healthcare services, including easier access to doctors and specialists, reduced travel expenses and less crowding. It will initially focus on aged care, palliative care and cancer care, providing patients health services from the comfort of their own homes.

Telepresence plays a crucial role in realizing the full benefits of telehealth.  With telepresence in healthcare not only can it save on costs but it also can save a life. For example, telesurgery is becoming increasingly used in times of crisis where doctors are using video, to give step by step instructions for surgeries. If a patient needs emergency surgery and the specialist is a thousand miles away, telesurgery is stepping in to save the day. Telesurgery is just one aspect of telehealth that is using video in innovative ways.

Additionally, telepresence in healthcare provides the “in-person”experience that allows people to establish a better connection with their physician without the hassle of travelling.

Governments around the worldare embracing telehealth as a means to increase the quality of care for their citizens and we commend the Australian government for recognizing the need and importance of implementing telehealth services.

Which country do you think will make a huge investment in telehealth next?

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