Up to 20,000 patients living in rural areas will get access to telehealth services following a new agreement between health network Health Team Australia (HTA) and Coviu, a Data61 startup.
Under the agreement, HTA will deploy Coviu’s real-time communication online video platform, rolling it out to users in rural and remote areas of Australia.
The video consultation service will add to existing health services from professionals such as exercise psychologists, dietitians, psychologists, mental health nurses and occupational therapists.
HTA’s service will be offered to patients through partners across Australia. The YMCA in Victoria, NSW and the ACT are already offering services.
HTA spokesperson Andrew Mahony said Coviu gives health professionals direct access to the lives of remote patients so they can prescribe a health plan.
“It enables us to provide individuals and organisations in rural and remote areas with evidence-based support and on-demand access to allied health experts,” he said in a statement.
Coviu project director Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, added that the platform is designed to integrate into existing workflows, enabling practitioners to ‘live-share’ media data and images.
“Approximately 10 per cent of the Australian population is spread across 90 per cent of its area and these people have poor access to medical specialists that’s taken for granted in large metropolitan areas,” she said.
“There is a real need to make video consultations a standard delivery mechanism of health services across Australia. Coviu does so in an affordable manner with the tools that clinicians need.”
An analysis of Medicare statistics from 2016 showed that less than four cent of health practitioners in private practice currently provide telehealth services in Australia.