Fears alleviated over telehealth

Although the potential for ethical, medico-legal and governance problems were identified, these issues had been easily managed in practice, the researchers found.

South Australian researchers interviewed 37 telehealth clinicians and managers, covering medical specialities such as surgery, nursing, allied health and mental health.

A total of 83% used video consulting and 68% delivered these services to rural areas.

Telehealth services were reported to be beneficial by reducing adverse events, improving health outcomes, offering patients increased patient choice of service delivery and improving access to services in rural areas.

Some patients reported preferring the video consultations rather than face-to-face consultations and providers reported gains or no change in patient-provider rapport.

Telehealth was seen to enable improved quality, integration and implementation of evidence-based care, the researchers said.