4 August 2020
On 24 July 2020, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) published a position paper as a supplement to Healthy people, Healthy systems: strategies for outcomes-focused and value-based healthcare entitled “The effective and sustainable adoption of virtual health care”. Read more about this position paper below, and access via APO.
As part of the COVID-19 response, the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) was extended to support the wide-scale provision of health care by telehealth, with subsequent amendments to restrict arrangements in general practice to providers who have an existing and continuous relationship with the patient. Private health insurers also agreed to provide benefits for teleconsultations.
With Australians more open to using technology in health care, this has led to optimism across the sector that there will be a willingness to embrace these technologies in care to achieve more long-term health care reform.
However, a forward-looking approach to virtual health care would involve planning to embrace the opportunities which may be available, for example, through remote monitoring, data-driven quality improvement, artificial intelligence and other innovations, to create new models of care. While the technology may have been available for decades, effective and sustainable implementation will require sector-wide attention to the following areas.