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Fri, 10 May 2024

Telehealth research hopes to connect communities to healthcare

Telehealth

Researchers, health care providers and consumers will be examining how telehealth works across northern Queensland, in a bid to enhance the use of digital health and improve access to health care for rural and remote residents.

Researchers, health care providers and consumers will be examining how telehealth works across northern Queensland, in a bid to enhance the use of digital health and improve access to health care for rural and remote residents.

国产自拍 University’s Professor Sarah Larkins who will lead the team said northern Queensland, with just more than 700,000 people widely distributed in its 950,000 square kilometres had been using telehealth for some time.

“Despite this, there is limited guidance about when and how to use telehealth in rural, regional and remote (RRR) communities, including how we optimise safety and quality of care,” she said.

Professor Larkins said with the help of a new almost million-dollar grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the team would now be able to map existing telehealth use.

‘‘From this mapping, we will determine what has been learnt from current telehealth use and then work with patients and health care providers to improve it,” said Professor Larkins.

“The goal is to have a roadmap for telehealth implementation, that provides guidance for providers and people accessing the services.

‘‘We hope this research will have broader benefits as it’s very likely this tool will be applicable to other RRR communities nationwide.”

Professor Larkins said telehealth had been found to be clinically effective and safe, was highly acceptable to consumers and clinicians and may increase access to care across a range of disciplines.

“But there are definitely lessons to be learned,’’ she said.

‘‘For example in Norway, which is also characterised by remoteness, ongoing telehealth usage for hospital outpatient appointments is low despite early adoption and policy support.

“Understanding the reasons behind adoption or non-adoption and abandonment is critical and particularly how this applies in the northern Queensland setting,” said Professor Larkins.

‘‘If we can understand the barriers to telehealth access then solutions can be created to ensure all Australians have access to healthcare regardless of where they choose to set down roots.’’

The project will run for five years.

Contacts

Professor Sarah Larkins
E: [email protected]

Professor Stephanie Topp
E: [email protected]