The Coronavirus outbreak has left Australians with no option but to embrace telehealth with open arms. The transition has helped patients get care online, either through video or phone consultations. It’s crucial for the health system to meet this demand as the aim is to take the pressure off from hospitals and emergency health care departments. Technology has clearly played a pro-active role in connecting patients and health care experts virtually. Australians seeking health care in crisis time like such can now easily access support from the convenience of their home.
The status of Telehealth prior COVID-19 Outbreak:
Telehealth wasn’t the need of the hour prior to the pandemic, the reason being Medicare, Australia’s publicly funded healthcare system was restricting registered healthcare providers to give services from a registered location while also limiting telehealth to patients coming from rural and remote communities. While on the other hand, even it’s private health insurance system did not reimburse claims for telehealth services.
Telehealth amidst the pandemic:
But as the pandemic made in-person healthcare questionable, in response, the Australian Government decided to embrace the technology and expand Medicare claims to add a range of telehealth consultations. They will include services such as pregnancy care, chronic disease management, general practitioner attendances, eating disorder management, mental health services, and more. You can also access the complete list of these temporary telehealth services on MBS Online Website. We are calling these services temporary as they are scheduled to end on 30 September 2020, but it is very likely that telehealth will continue beyond the outbreak and play an important role in the provision of healthcare services in Australia. Apart from that, a great number of private health insurers are also covering claims for telehealth services which are not included by Medicare.
Moving forward let’s talk about more initiatives:
- Applications such as moodgym, eHeadspace and Project Synergy are providing digital mental health care.
- Tunstall Healthcare, an Australian provider of connected care and health solutions has launched products such as Tunstall Smart Hub, SmartLink Medi Guardian, Find-me Watch, and GO pendant to provide 24/7 customer care to monitor, connect and help aged Australians with telehealth support.
- Philips’ telehealth solutions (eCareCompanion & eCareCoordinator) are helping healthcare systems to cope up with self-isolating COVID-19 patients with virtual medical assistance. West Moreton Health and Health Service have deployed these solutions to support COVID-19 patients in the West Moreton community
Coming down to the benefits:
- Telehealth can be utilized to treat mild cases of COVID-19 at home
- Quarantined Frontline health workforce can continue to work virtually by providing telehealth services from the comfort of their homes
- Support in delivering non-COVID-19 medical care virtually
- A long-term strategy that will be useful for the health care systems post-COVID- times.
Lastly, we recommend sticking to virtual healthcare as much as possible and purchase your hygiene products online. We have a great range of must-have high-quality hygiene products such as disposable face masks, vinyl gloves, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitisers and more - Click here to stock them up today!