ATHS - This Week in Telehealth #57 - Dec 6 2016
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The Australasian Telehealth Society was formed in 2008 to deliver a united voice for telehealth and to ensure that information related to telehealth was made more easily accessible. 

This can only be achieved by its membership and the leadership of the committee which represents the society.  The committee volunteers its time and expertise; in an effort to promote the uptake of telehealth.

From an Australian perspective, Telehealth is experiencing a new burst of activity after being dormant for a number of years during Australian and global financial hardship, which is ironic given the financial benefits that Telehealth can offer to the health system.  Australia is truly jealous and can learn from New Zealand’s clear strategy for advancing telehealth.

We know that telehealth is on the radar of Australia’s Digital Health Agency, what the telehealth industry does now that the door is officially open needs to be considered, strategic and timely.  This an important time for the industry to get it right.  I would ask our members to become more active in the work that is being undertaken and to assist the society to advise government.  As such I extend an opportunity for representatives to nominate to be a part of the ATHS broader committee. All we ask is one hour every second month and for volunteers to support some of the activities, your support and voice will make the society stronger.

The Successes and Failures Conference in Auckland was very successful with everyone still buzzing about the event, it was a pleasure to attend let alone be one of the organisers!  At our AGM, members expressed a want to continue the momentum of the conferment and have monthly events whereby successful programs can present their telehealth programs and provide guidance and advice to those interested.  As part of the broader committee we would like to ask those members to take ownership of one ‘event’.  This is an opportunity to showcase your program for others to learn from and to contribute to the broader telehealth community of practice.

We look forward to an exciting 2017 and further advancement of telehealth as a valuable modality for clinical service delivery!
At the 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Australasian Telehealth Society held at the SFT conference in Auckland, the new Executive officially took office.  The Executive is unchanged from the 2015-2016 Executive, except that Tori Wade has stepped down as Honorary Secretary and Laurie Wilson has returned to this role.  An election was not necessary as there was one nomination for each position.  The 2016-1017 Executive consist of:
President: Jackie Plunkett
Vice President: Alan Taylor
Honorary Secretary: Laurie Wilson
Honorary Treasurer: Michelle McGuirk
The Executive will now invite members to join the extended committee.

The next SFT conference will be held in Brisbane on 30-31 October 2017.  Further information, including a call for abstracts will be issued before Christmas this year. This conference will also serve as the 8th Annual Meeting of the Australasian Telehealth Society. Web:

Article of the week

Caffery, L. J., Bradford, N. K., Wickramasinghe, S. I., Hayman, N. and Smith, A. C. (2016), Outcomes of using telehealth for the provision of healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: a systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12600
This work has been recently published by the Indigenous theme team at the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Telehealth. 
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) have been effective at improving access to mainstream health services for Indigenous Australians. ACCHS provide the majority of primary care health services for Indigenous Australians. However, specialist care is needed for many of the health care problems experienced by Indigenous Australians. Face-to-face specialist clinics at an ACCHS are not always feasible, due to travel costs and time constraints.  Telehealth facilitated through partnerships between ACCHS and public hospitals may improve access to specialist services for Indigenous people.  Such partnerships would allow people to access specialist care in a familiar, supported and culturally sensitive environment - close to home.  Furthermore, the use of telehealth would respect existing referral pathways and reduce the financial burden typically associated with travel to see a specialist.  This model of care is a positive strategy for delivering specialist care into metropolitan, regional and remote ACCHS.    
Article available here
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is currently seeking feedback to better understand digital health and its application in the healthcare sector. Consulting is occurring through various formats; surveys, submissions, phone calls and clinical/ consumer/ stakeholder forums. We encourage members to take this opportunity to advocate for an accurate national telehealth strategy. Send your vision for telehealth – opportunities, successes and, of course, current barriers.

Submissions close at the end of January. Let’s work together to ensure that when the Digital Health Strategy is released, telehealth is imbedded as part of the combined national direction.

Phone: 1300 901 001


See the website for more info:

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia, the RACGP, The George Institute for Global Health and the Menzies Centre for Health Policy have released Patient Centred Health Care Homes in Australia: Towards Successful Implementation Report defining the guiding principles for successful implementation of the Health Care Homes initiative. The report itself has only a slight reference to telehealth, encouraging providers to support alternate methods of delivering care (including change management and infrastructure). What is really of interest is that the PCHCH practice model includes “accessibility for patients using multiple connection models”. This strongly aligns with the vision that telehealth (home-monitoring, self-monitoring, and face to face) being adopted into mainstream models of care.  Worth a read for those interested in the Health Care Homes funding from Department of Health or if you are a provider in the aged care and chronic disease management sector.

DoH Resources for Health Care Homes can be found here.

Featuring over 25 health sector leaders, the 2nd annual Digital Health 2017 CeBIT Australia will address strategic advancement of digital health in Australia. Beyond just ehealth and digital health records, we’ll be looking at the design, delivery and operations of technology enabled health initiatives which improve health service delivery and health outcomes. Attend to disrupt the delivery of healthcare services. View the full speaker list and program here.

Themes of CeBIT Australia’s Digital Health conference: Clinical systems; Integrated care; Emerging technology – robotics and AI; Data, analytics & information management; EMR/e-health records; Policy outlooks; Telehealth; Informatics research; mHealth; Innovation; Digital health innovations & meeting drivers for change.

Receive $100 off any conference including Digital Health 2017 @ CeBIT by quoting the promo code ATHS17 at the checkoutIf you can’t make the conference, register for your free visitor pass here.

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