What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of information and communication technologies to deliver health care when patients and care providers are not in the same physical location. For example, illnesses can be diagnosed and treatment provided via secure video conference. To be effective, telehealth relies on fast broadband internet services. It is ultimately about providing a service that is equitable. The service provides a wide range of benefits:
- For patients: Faster access to care and shorter wait times. Remote patients can remain close to home, making consultations more convenient and reducing travel
- DHBs: Fairer health system because of better access to care. More educational options for district health board staff via specialist video training
- Specialists/consultants: Less time spent travelling for consultations. Greater control over scheduling. Closer working relationship between specialists and primary care
- Aged care workers/nurses: Reduced need to transfer older patients. Increases nurses’ knowledge through more exposure to specialist consultations
- General practitioners: GPs who serve rural health facilities need to travel less frequently. Store and forward allows for accessible referrals and second opinions
- Allied health workers: Rehabilitation and physiotherapy can take place via videoconference, meaning less time and budget spent on travel.