More Australians choosing digital health services

nbn co ltd

Monday, 21 March, 2016

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Australians ‘sandwiched’ between caring for their children and elderly parents are more likely to take advantage of telehealth services to better manage family health from home, according to a new research report commissioned by nbn.

The nbn Digital Health At Home Report* shows the vast majority (90%) of the ‘sandwich generation’ have delayed a GP visit for various reasons — from wishing to avoid wasting time or losing money to having to take days off work.

The report highlights how access to fast broadband and telehealth services such as GP videoconferencing and in-home monitoring for the elderly will help time-poor Australians prioritise personal and family health care.

Half of the report’s respondents (50%) who use telehealth, which refers to health information and services over the internet, said they access it for convenience, one-third (34%) use it to better manage personal or family health, and one in five (21%) use it when they can’t get in to see a doctor.

It also showed around one-third (37%) of pregnant women and new parent respondents harness telehealth to save time and avoid costs of GP and hospital visits (28%), while one in three (30%) regionally located respondents use telehealth, and one in five of all Australians (20%) do so to access health services not available in their location.

Dr David Hansen, CEO, Australian E-Health Research Centre, said access to health services for Australians living in rural and remote Australia is a real issue.

“As GPs and specialists start to offer digital services, people can receive quality care through uninterrupted videoconferencing and other broadband-enabled delivery methods no matter where they live,” said Dr Hansen.

“Telehealth is also offering a time-efficient solution for city-based patients, offering anytime, anywhere health care. Our recent trials testing telehealth applications over fast broadband demonstrated these services can help improve patient outcomes and reduce costs to the healthcare system.”

With approximately $154.6 billion spent on Australia’s health in 2013–14, the report said telehealth will enable Australians to easily access healthcare services and will help relieve pressures on the current health system.

*The research was commissioned by nbn and developed by Colmar Brunton, with an Australian sample size of 1534 people — November 2015. The report was reviewed and endorsed by a number of health industry bodies including CSIRO, Australian E-Health Research Centre and Deaf Services Australia.

Image courtesy of nbn.

Originally published here.

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