The reported benefits of telehealth for rural Australians

Moffatt, Jennifer J. and Eley, Diann S. (2010) The reported benefits of telehealth for rural Australians. Australian Health Review, 34 3: 276-281. doi:10.1071/AH09794

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
UQ216272_Checklist.pdf HERDC Checklist - not publicly available application/pdf 75.09KB 2

Author Moffatt, Jennifer J.
Eley, Diann S.
Title The reported benefits of telehealth for rural Australians
Journal name Australian Health Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0156-5788
1449-8944
Publication date 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AH09794
Volume 34
Issue 3
Start page 276
End page 281
Total pages 6
Editor Andrew Wilson
Place of publication Australia
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
1605 Policy and Administration
1117 Public Health and Health Services
Formatted abstract
Objective. A literature review was conducted to identify the reported benefits attributed to telehealth for people living and professionals working in rural and remote areas of Australia.

Data sources. Scopus and relevant journals and websites were searched using the terms: telemedicine, telehealth, telepsychiatry, teledermatology, teleradiology, Australia, and each state and territory. Publications since 1998 were included.

Study selection
. The initial search resulted in 176 articles, which was reduced to 143 when research reporting on Australian rural, regional or remote populations was selected.

Data synthesis. A narrative review was conducted using an existing ‘benefits’ framework. Patients are reported to have benefited from: lower costs and reduced inconvenience while accessing specialist health services; improved access to services and improved quality of clinical services. Health professionals are reported to have benefited from: access to continuing education and professional development; provision of enhanced local services; experiential learning, networking and collaboration.

Discussion
. Rural Australians have reportedly benefited from telehealth. The reported improved access and quality of clinical care available to rural Australians through telemedicine and telehealth may contribute to decreasing the urban–rural health disparities. The reported professional development opportunities and support from specialists through the use of telehealth may contribute to improved rural medical workforce recruitment and retention.

What is known about the topic?
An extensive international literature has reported on the efficacy of telehealth, and to a lesser extent the clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of telemedicine. Systematic reviews conclude that the quality of the studies preclude definitive conclusions being drawn about clinical and cost-effectiveness, although there is some evidence of effective clinical outcomes and the potential for cost-benefits. Little attention has been paid to the benefits reported for people who live in rural and remote Australia, despite this being a rationale for the use of telehealth in rural and remote locations.

What does this paper add? Patients in rural and remote locations in Australia are reported to benefit from telehealth by increased access to health services and up-skilled health professionals. Health professionals are reported to benefit from telehealth by up-skilling from increased contact with specialists and increased access to professional development. The review findings suggest that one strategy, the increased use of telehealth, has the potential to reduce the inequitable access to health services and the poorer health status that many rural Australians experience, and contribute to addressing the on-going problem of the recruitment and retention of the rural health workforce.

What are the implications for practitioners?
The use of telehealth appears to be a path to up-skilling for rural and remote practitioners.
Keyword Rural
Telehealth
Australia
Telemedicine
Queensland
Telepsychiatry
Teledermatology
References References 1 Roine R, Ohinmaa A, Hailey D. Assessing telemedicine: a systematic review of the literature. CMJA 2001; 165(6): 765–71. 2 Hersh WR, Hickam DH, Severance SM, Dana TL, Pyle Krages K, Helfand M. Diagnosis, access and outcomes: update of a systematic review of telemedicine services. J Telemed Telecare 2006; 12(Suppl. 2): 3–31. doi:10.1258/135763306778393117 3 Whitten PS, Mair FS, Haycox A, May CR, Williams TL, Hellmich S. Systematic review of cost effectiveness studies of telemedicine interventions. BMJ 2002; 324(7351): 1434–7. doi:10.1136/bmj.324. 7351.1434 4 Hailey D, Ohinmaa A, Roine R. Study quality and evidence of benefit in recent assessments of telemedicine. J Telemed Telecare 2004; 10(6): 318–24. [Review] doi:10.1258/1357633042602053 5 Norton SA, Burdick AE, Phillips CM, Berman B. Teledermatology and underserved populations. Arch Dermatol 1997; 133(2): 197–200. doi:10.1001/archderm.133.2.197 6 Chandrashekhar AK. Telemedicine in Gulf War. Aviat Space Environ Med 1992; 63(2): 135–7. [Comment 1998; 69(9): 918]. 7 Mair F, Fraser S, Ferguson J, Webster K. Telemedicine via satellite to support offshore oil platforms. J Telemed Telecare 2008; 14(3): 129–31. doi:10.1258/jtt.2008.003008 8 Yellowlees P, McCoy WT. Telemedicine. A health care system to help Australians. Med J Aust 1993; 159(7): 437–8. 9 Humphreys JS. Key considerations in delivering appropriate and accessible health care for rural and remote populations: discussant overview. Aust J Rural Health 2009; 17(1): 34–8. doi:10.1111/j.1440- 1584.2008.01034.x 10 Margolis SA, Ypinazar VA. Tele-pharmacy in remote medical practice: the Royal Flying Doctor Service Medical Chest Program. Rural Remote Health 2008; 8(2): 937. 11 Department of Health and Ageing. Report on the audit of health workforce in rural and regional Australia. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing; 2008. 12 Brear M. Evaluating telemedicine: lessons and challenges. HIM J 2006; 35(2): 23–31. 13 Smith AC, Gray LC. Telemedicine across the ages. Med J Aust 2009; 190(1): 15–9. 14 McDonaldI, Hill S, Daly J, CroweB. Evaluating telemedicine in Victoria: a generic framework. Melbourne: Victorian Government Department of Human Services; 1998. 15 Smith AC, Youngberry K, Christie F, Isles A, McCrossin R, Williams M, et al. The family costs of attending hospital outpatient appointments via videoconference and in person. J Telemed Telecare 2003; 9(Suppl. 2): 58–61. doi:10.1258/135763303322596282 16 Buist A, Coman G, Silvas A, Burrows G. An evaluation of the telepsychiatry programme in Victoria, Australia. J Telemed Telecare 2000; 6(4): 216–21. doi:10.1258/1357633001935383 17 Cowain T. Cognitive–behavioural therapy via videoconferencing to a rural area. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2001; 35(1): 62–4. doi:10.1046/j.1440- 1614.2001.00853.x 18 D’Souza R. Telemedicine for intensive support of psychiatric inpatients admitted to local hospitals. J Telemed Telecare 2000; 6(Suppl. 1): 26–8. doi:10.1258/1357633001934834 19 Cregan P, Stapleton S, Wilson L, et al. The ViCCU Project – achieving virtual presence using ultra broadband internet in a critical clinical application – initial results. Stud Health Technol Inform 2005; 111: 94–8. 20 Doessel DP, Travers H, Hunter E. The use of touch-screen technology for health-related information in indigenous communities: some economic issues. Prometheus 2007; 25(4): 373–92. doi:10.1080/ 08109020701689227 21 Trott P. The Queensland northern regional health authority telemental health project. J Telemed Telecare 1996; 2(Suppl. 1): 98–104. doi:10.1258/1357633961929457 22 Gelber H, Alexander M. An evaluation of an Australian videoconferencing project for child and adolescent telepsychiatry. J Telemed Telecare 1999; 5(Suppl. 1): 21–3. doi:10.1258/13576339 91933297 23 Starling RN, O’Connell C, Couzos C. NACCHO GP network – enhancing communication in Aboriginal health. S. Aust Fam Physician 2005; 34(10): 849–50. 24 Blignault I. Multipoint videoconferencing in health: a review of three years’ experience in Queensland, Australia. Telemed J 2000; 6(2): 269–74. doi:10.1089/107830200415216 25 Dillon E, Loermans J, Davis D, Xu C. Evaluation of the Western Australian Department of Health telehealth project. J Telemed Telecare 2005; 11(Suppl. 2): 19–21. doi:10.1258/135763305775124803 26 Lessing K, Blignault I. Mental health telemedicine programmes in Australia. J Telemed Telecare 2001; 7(6): 317–323. doi:10.1258/ 1357633011936949 27 Greenwood J, Williams R. Continuing professional development for Australian rural psychiatrists by videoconference. Australas Psychiatry 2008; 16(4): 273–6. doi:10.1080/10398560801982994 28 Hayward T, Mitchell JG. Renal case conference using teleradiology and videoconferencing between Adelaide and Alice Springs. J Telemed Telecare 1999; 5(3): 205–7. doi:10.1258/1357633991933530 29 McColl I. Dermatology education on the web. J Telemed Telecare 2003; 9(Suppl. 2): 33–5. doi:10.1258/135763303322596200 30 Yellowlees P, Kennedy C. Telemedicine applications in an integrated mental health service based at a teaching hospital. J Telemed Telecare 1996; 2: 205–9. doi:10.1258/1357633961930086 31 Kennedy C, Blignault I, Hornsby D, Yellowlees P. Videoconferencing in the Queensland health service. J Telemed Telecare 2001; 7(5): 266–71. doi:10.1258/1357633011936516 32 Smith AC, Scuffham P, Wootton R. The costs and potential savings of a novel telepaediatric service in Queensland. BMC Health Serv Res 2007; 7: 35. doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-35 33 Trott P, Blignault I. Cost evaluation of a telepsychiatry service in northern Queensland. J Telemed Telecare 1998; 4(Suppl. 1): 66–8. doi:10.1258/ 1357633981931515 34 Eedy DJ, Wootton R. Teledermatology: a review. Br J Dermatol 2001; 144(4): 696–707. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2133.2001.04124.x 35 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Rural, regional and remote health. Indicators of health status and determinants of health. Report No. 9. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2008. 36 Swanson B. Information technology and under-served communities. J Telemed Telecare 1999; 5(Suppl. 2): 3–10. doi:10.1258/1357633991 933468 37 Barry CJ, Constable IJ, McAllister IL, Kanagasingam Y. Diabetic screening in Western Australia: a photographer’s perspective. J Vis Commun Med 2006; 29(2): 66–75. doi:10.1080/01405110600890459 38 Dillon E, Loermans J. Telehealth in Western Australia: the challenge of evaluation. J Telemed Telecare 2003; 9(Suppl. 2): 15–9. 39 Mitchell BR, Mitchell JG, Disney AP. User adoption issue in renal telemedicine. J Telemed Telecare 1996; 2(2): 81–6. doi:10.1258/ 1357633961929835 40 Mathews KA, Elcock MS, Furyk JS. The use of telemedicine to aid in assessing patients prior to aeromedical retrieval to a tertiary referral centre. J Telemed Telecare 2008; 14(6): 309–14. doi:10.1258/jtt.2008. 080417 41 Hall G, HennessyM, Barton J, Coroneo M. Teleophthalmology-assisted corneal foreign body removal in a rural hospital. Telemed J E Health 2005; 11(1): 79–83. doi:10.1089/tmj.2005.11.79 42 Ellis I. The clinical champion role in the development of a successful telehealth wound care project for remote Australia. J Telemed Telecare 2005; 11(Suppl. 2): 26–8. doi:10.1258/135763305775124687 43 Faulkner K, McClelland L. Using videoconferencing to deliver a health education program to women health consumers in rural and remote Queensland: an early attempt and future plans. Aust J Rural Health 2002; 10(1): 65–72. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1584.2002.00434.x 44 Phillips JL, DavidsonPM,NewtonPJ, DigiacomoM.Supporting patients and their caregivers after-hours at the end of life: the role of telephone support. J Pain Symptom Manage 2008; 36(1): 11–21. doi:10.1016/ j.jpainsymman.2007.08.017 45 St George I, Cullen M, Gardiner L, Karabatsos G. Universal telenursing triage in Australia and New Zealand – a new primary health service. Aust Fam Physician 2008; 37(6): 476–9. 46 D’Souza R.Apilot study of an educational service for rural mental health practitioners in South Australia using telemedicine. J Telemed Telecare 2000; 6(Suppl. 1): 187–9. doi:10.1258/1357633001934627 47 Harris V, Smith AC, Armfield NR. Education for regional health professionals using mobile videoconferencing. J Telemed Telecare 2007; 13(Suppl. 3): 44–7. doi:10.1258/135763307783247275 48 Chan FY, Soong B, Taylor A, Bornick P, Allen M, CincottaR, et al. Fetal endoscopic telesurgery using an internet protocol connection: clinical and technical challenges. J Telemed Telecare 2003; 9(Suppl. 2): 12–4. doi:10.1258/135763303322596138 49 Morris DG. Using telemedicine to facilitate training in cardiotocography (CTG) interpretation. J Telemed Telecare 2000; 6(Suppl. 1): 53–5. doi:10.1258/1357633001934140
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 59 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 65 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 12 Sep 2010, 00:07:19 EST