Telehealth video health hook-ups save $800,000 in a year

RURAL telehealth services has already tripled consultations in Queensland's central west and saved about $800,000 in unnecessary travel in the past year.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said, via videolink from Alpha Hospital on Friday, he hoped for similar results as the technology-based services were expanded across rural communities Alpha, Eidsvold, Moura, Kowanyama, Normanton, Roma and Bedourie.

He said the video consultations with doctors in other hospitals had benefits for patients and doctors who did not have to travel as far and the travel savings could be invested into the system for further enhancements.

"Telehealth will feature strongly in the future delivery of healthcare in regional and rural Queensland, and that is why this government has invested so strongly in the network," he said.

"Utilising and expanding this network will transform the way some services are delivered in these communities and will create a new generation of care.

"These seven new sites are just the first step in ensuring Queenslanders, regardless of where they live, can access high-quality healthcare in a more timely fashion."

Mr Springborg said there were 1500 systems across 200 hospitals and community healthcare systems across the state.

He said they had been installed in previous years but were largely underutilised.

Mr Springborg said he wanted to reinstate a number of services that had been lost through these idle systems - particularly paediatrics, oncology and cardiology.

There is $30.9 million allocated in this year's budget to be spent over four years in co-ordinating and building telehealth services throughout Queensland.

Mr Springborg said the seven evaluation sites would enable the government to assess the benefits for patients and take on board improvement suggestions from clinicians.

He said the services could extend to webcams on patients' home computers in the future and would prove useful in disasters.

Topics:  health, lawrence springborg, queensland government, technology




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