'Digital telehealth' is a general term, describing the remote delivery of health services via video and telecommunications technologies.
The SA Digital Telehealth Network provides the technology for clinicians and consumers to communicate face-to-face from different locations. Remote patients are able to receive health services conveniently, reducing time and travel requirements.
The SA Digital Telehealth Network greatly improves patient access to a range of clinical services, otherwise not offered in their locality. Country patients now have better access to metro-based specialist services from their local hospital or health centre; and the list of specialties is increasing.
Services using telehealth
The SA Digital Telehealth Network was launched in 2012, initially with 90 video units across most public country hospitals. The Network has significantly expanded, with over 400 video conferencing units situated in metropolitan and country health sites. See the Video conferencing with Cisco Webex Teams page for more information.
The Network is now used to deliver of a range of healthcare services across SA Health, including:
In 2019, the SA Digital Telehealth Network was used for over 12,000 clinical consumer encounters and over 24,000 video conferences were held, including clinical, operational, training and administrative communication.
Privacy, confidentiality and consent
Similar to any normal face-to-face consultation with a health professional, private or sensitive treatment issues can be discussed during a video conference consultation. Privacy and confidentially are maintained at all times.
Additional staff are not permitted in consultation rooms without patient consent, and consultations are not recorded. If you do not consent to using telehealth for accessing your health services, please speak to your local SA Health professional for more information.
Medicare Benefits Schedule
Specialist telehealth consultations may be bulk-billed to Medicare if you are from an eligible remote area (RA 2 to 5), and more than 15km away from your nearest provider. See the Doctor Connect site to determine your eligibility.
Telehealth allows GPs and other health professionals to conveniently provide services and patient consultations via video conferencing.
Rural GPs can use the SA Digital Telehealth Network locally from a country location when consulting with a public health specialist to support care delivery to public health consumers. Alternatively, rural GPs can use a privately procured internet connection and a standards-based software application to link to the Digital Telehealth Network.
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