Rural Telehealth and Outreach

Rural Telehealth and Outreach

In 2016, RWAV worked in collaboration with Monash University on analysing telehealth services across Victoria. The emphasis was on the perspectives of specialist providers using video-consultations to supply specialist services to rural populations. The methodology involved surveying a cross-section of approximately 350 specialist doctors who are contracted and subsidised to provide rural outreach services in Victoria under Rural Health Outreach Fund. The survey explored clinical services that specialists consider can be effectively provided to rural communities by video-consultation, as part of their outreach service or as a new service to a location they are not currently visiting but needs their services, the rate of use, whether video-consultations reduce requirements for face-to-face services, factors that might facilitate uptake in the clinical areas it was considered effective and their intention to continue rural outreach.

Of the specialists surveyed 70 returned the questionnaire of which 38 were already providing telehealth services across a broad range of disciplines, including paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry and cardiology.

Service providers were asked “What would facilitate your use of video-consultations for these services?” the top three responses were:

  • 34% funding for time
  • 47% funding for service coordination
  • 11% funding for room hire

Summary of survey findings