by Rebecca Merrett

HCF invests in telehealth startup to boost rural services

Jan 22, 2016
Healthcare Industry

Not-for-profit health fund, HFC has taken a 15 per cent stake in GP2U, a telehealth startup that allows for remote medical consultations using videoconferencing.

“With only one doctor per 3,000 rural Australians, compared with one doctor per 1,000 in Australian cities, there is growing demand for reliable telehealth services,” Sheena Jack, HCF chief strategy officer, said in a statement.

“Our research indicates especially for those in regional and rural Australia, the ability to undertake a medical consultation from the comfort of their home is very appealing.”

HFC will start with a pilot program of this technology and then roll it out to scale to its whole membership base.

The GP2U service also allows messages to be sent directly to pharmacies – Terry White Chemists and Pricelin – regarding a patient’s medication once GP has done a consultation and approved a prescription.

Hepatitis C medication was also recently put on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), with GP2U having a strong focus on reaching patients with the disease.

“Approximately 250,000 people in Australia have Hep C and these tools will help enable doctors to deal with the huge increase in people seeking treatment,” GP2U founder, Dr James Freeman, said in a statement.