In-home telehealth pilot program to begin in July
A new $20.6 million telehealth program utilising the National Broadband Network (NBN) will provide in-home telehealth services to older Australians, people living with cancer and those requiring palliative care.
The NBN Telehealth Pilot Program will deliver services to patients in NBN rollout areas and provide feedback on how this program and other health care measures can be delivered nationwide.
The government’s aim is that the NBN will enhance the reliability of bringing health services to Australians, ultimately transforming the way health care is delivered around the nation.
Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said existing telehealth program is proving popular with Australian patients and doctors, making it easier for people to receive care and advice via videoconferencing when and where they need it.
Six months after the Government introduced Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations, more than 7,000 services have been provided by over 1,200 clinicians around Australia, mostly to rural and remote areas.
Ms Plibersek said the NBN Telehealth Pilot Program will provide to eligible participants in NBN early rollout areas a range of innovative services delivered through pilots funded under the program. These will include having health indicators monitored remotely – for instance, your doctor being able to take your blood pressure online while you are at home – or receiving medical consultations and healthy living support in the home.
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said he expected successful pilots will commence providing services from 1 July under the NBN Telehealth Pilot Program.
Draft program guidelines for the telehealth pilot program have been released for consultation. The guidelines can be accessed at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ehealth-nbntelehealth-pilots Final guidelines will be released when applications open in February/March 2012.