Doctors ready for online consultations

Monday, December 13 2010

Doctors in Australia will have increasing telepresence as telehealth rebates beginning in July 2011 have spurred major growth in the industry, according to the Australian.

A main component of the technological advancements is video conferencing, which will boost access to doctors and nurses in rural areas, increase home care for the elderly, promote routine telehealth check-ups and allow remote monitoring of chronic conditions.

The government in Australia has committed $250 million over the next four years to fund the Medicare health IT rebates, writes the news source.

Although the country knows that video conferencing may not always be as effective as an in person health consultation, the technology will open doors to improved healthcare for many located in more isolated regions of the continent.

"The government recognizes that while consultations at a distance will not always be an adequate substitute, online technology means consultations largely involving the exchange of information, as opposed to a physical examination, can be satisfactorily carried out over the internet," said Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

According to Healthcare IT News, reduced prices and improved quality have made the healthcare industry ripe for video conferencing, as the practice of telemedicine continues to undergo a "significant evolution."