Tele­health shows value of MHR

Pharmacy Daily - - News -

THE suc­cess­ful roll­out of tele­health ser­vices in re­sponse to the COVID-19 pan­demic high­lights the ben­e­fits of the My Health Record (MHR), Doc­tors on De­mand CEO, Kirsty Gar­rett, be­lieves.

Call­ing for the Medi­care re­bates for tele­health ser­vices to be re­tained be­yond the cur­rent cri­sis, Gar­rett said the use of the elec­tronic health record had al­lowed Doc­tors on De­mand GPs to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of care for pa­tients through­out the cur­rent emer­gency.

“For the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, pa­tients and the health­care in­dus­try to reap the ben­e­fits of tele­health, Medi­care sup­port needs to be re­tained as a tan­gi­ble ef­fort aimed at pro­vid­ing more ac­ces­si­ble pri­mary care and re­duc­ing the bur­den on emer­gency and af­ter hour care ser­vices,’’ she said.

“Re­mote and un­der-re­sourced com­mu­ni­ties will ben­e­fit the most from im­proved long-term ac­cess to health­care.

“With in­te­gra­tion via a pa­tient’s MyHealth Record, tele­health ap­pli­ca­tions can col­lect the full pa­tient his­tory in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties to im­prove on­site care and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween health pro­fes­sion­als.

“There is also a mis­con­cep­tion that somehow tele­health isn’t about doc­tors pro­vid­ing the best pos­si­ble care for their pa­tients.

“In fact, tele­health providers are Aus­tralian reg­is­tered GPs and thou­sands are now us­ing the ser­vice ev­ery day, to com­ple­ment their clinic hours and de­liver ser­vices to re­gional ar­eas and af­ter-hours, where there isn’t the same ac­cess to doc­tors in bricks and mor­tar clin­ics.”

While Gar­rett called for the ex­ten­sion of tele­health ser­vices, she said the cur­rent sys­tem needed to be re­formed with a push for video con­sults rather than tele­phone calls.

“The pro­vi­sion of a qual­ity tele­health pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence is much more than a sim­ple tele­phone call which un­for­tu­nately rep­re­sents over 90% of the tele­health Medi­care claims dur­ing the COVID pe­riod.

“Vir­tual face-to-face tele­health is su­pe­rior to phone, when in-per­son con­sults are not read­ily avail­able.

“In a ge­o­graph­i­cally chal­leng­ing coun­try such as Aus­tralia, where the dis­tances are large and health­care ser­vices are cen­tralised, tele­health is es­sen­tial, as it is for all com­mu­ni­ties who can’t gain ready ac­cess to a GP prac­tice, in­clud­ing af­ter hours.

“What is im­por­tant is that it needs to be eq­ui­tably ac­cessed and gov­erned to en­sure ap­pro­pri­ate use by providers and op­ti­mal ex­pe­ri­ences for pa­tients.”

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