A patient survey of telehealth services in regional Western Australia, where specialist medical appointments are accessed via videoconferencing in regional home towns, is proving to be a game changer in the regional health arena.
Member for Kalgoorlie, Wendy Duncan MLA, said that the telehealth services, which offer convenience and saves considerable time and money in delivering specialist medical advice is revolutionising health care for the regions with 99 per cent of those surveyed saying they would recommend the telehealth service.
“These telehealth services are available in both Laverton and Leonora, with a regional centre at the Kalgoorlie Health Campus and form part of the $500 million Southern Inland Health Initiative, funded by Royalties for Regions,” Ms Duncan said.
“The positive feedback, which came from a survey of users of the high-definition telehealth services linking regional outpatients to clinicians in the State’s major hospitals and health services demonstrates the positive effect that Royalties for Regions dollars is making.”
Ms Duncan said that she has been told that the security and support provided by the telehealth service has made staff more willing to work in remote locations and greatly assisted with attracting and retaining employees.
“It is very pleasing to note that people of all cultural backgrounds seem to have no difficulty in engaging with specialists through a screen.”
Almost all patients surveyed said the service was as effective as a “face to face” appointment.
Over the past year more than 15,000 people living in regional Western Australia have used telehealth outpatient appointments and the service continues to grow as people discover and learn how convenient and efficient it is.
The difference this makes for regional patients through not having to travel great distances to access specialist medical services is evident for Candidate for Kalgoorlie, Tony Crook.
“I have been fortunate to see firsthand the use of the telehealth services in Laverton after a colleague took ill. We were able to link in with specialist advice which took considerable pressure off my friend and supported nursing staff to deliver care on the ground,” he said.
The State Government is making significant investments in the telehealth expansion through the Royalties for Regions program with $500 million allocated through the Southern Inland Health Initiative and $150.9 million allocated through the North West Health Initiative.
“The response that 99 per cent of those surveyed would recommend the telehealth service is a clear indication of the success of this investment,” Mr Crook said.
For media enquiries call Wendy Duncan MLA on 0438 782 034