An investigation into store and forward telehealth adoption in Australia
The challenge for health care payers is to stem expenditure growth and gain proportionate value where the costs escalate. A visionary approach which transcends political agenda is required to ensure worthwhile, strategic objectives for cost, quality and access are pursued. Health care is poised for a change in course, with e-health and telehealth driving the next breakthroughs in health care systems across the world.
Qualitative research was utilised as an appropriate approach as this fulfils the needs of exploration where little knowledge is available and an understanding of economic, political and social factors is needed. A carefully selected group of subjects who could provide the insights needed to make recommendations to enable store and forward (SAF) telehealth in Australia were chosen. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using scheduled, recorded teleconferences initiated from a standard landline service.
Discussions took place relating to any barriers holding SAF telehealth as a health service delivery model back and ultimately what can be done to promote a sustainable and productive service emerging as part of a new health care service. The summary of these findings is broken into individual sections and they are presented in the paper.
SAF telehealth consultations could occur in a number of ways and its continued expansion is governed by reimbursement policy and ongoing technology innovation. With the use of smart technologies and governance, costs can be reduced while improving quality of care and access to services for many patients.
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