Tele­health on the rise

Pilbara News - - News -

The num­ber of peo­ple in coun­try WA us­ing tele­health for med­i­cal care has tre­bled in the past four years, ac­cord­ing to the WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice.

WACHS strat­egy and re­form chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Melissa Ver­non said de­spite this in­crease, many could still ben­e­fit from the video-con­fer­enc­ing ser­vice.

“Each week, about 800 re­gional and outer-metropoli­tan pa­tients re­ceive med­i­cal care us­ing video­con­fer­enc­ing — ei­ther for emer­gency or out­pa­tient ser­vices,” she said.

“But with tele­health con­sul­ta­tions avail­able for a wide range of ser­vices in many ru­ral and re­mote lo­ca­tions, there is huge scope for greater take-up.

“Tele­health is sav­ing a lot of out­pa­tients time and money, and is hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on re­duc­ing the stress as­so­ci­ated with travel and time lost at work and with fam­ily.

“Our sur­veys tell us that most peo­ple who use tele­health have found it as ef­fec­tive as a con­sul­ta­tion in the spe­cial­ist’s surgery.”

Plas­tic and burns sur­geon Fiona Wood said very few of her coun­try pa­tients had to travel to Perth to at­tend clin­ics these days be­cause of tele­health ser­vices.

“Some­times I see a pa­tient in per­son, to de­cide whether we need to op­er­ate, but usu­ally I can see them us­ing video­con­fer­ence, and we can di­rect nurses in re­gional health cen­tres as to how they need to dress the pa­tient’s wounds,” she said.

“So we are sup­port­ing the pa­tient and also the lo­cal staff.”

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