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This Week in Telehealth October 28, 2014
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SFT-14 Conference News

There is so much on, but here are just a few examples of the great presentations that will be given at this conference:
  • Generating new telehealth services using a whole of community approach: Anthony Smith, Centre for Online Health, University of Queensland.
  • Experience with scaling up the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program: Michelle Yu
  • Roundtable of National Telehealth Strategies: a panel from state and territory health departments
Notably, this year many of the presentations are about bringing telehealth into the normal business of healthcare. See the full program here.  
George Margelis says Health Apps are Useless
Just a good headline? Actually what George said is that that health apps are still very immature and their use is limited unless they expand to include chronic diseases and actually connect to the digital platforms that health providers use in their daily work. See full article here.
Correction for the recent article in This Week in Telehealth number 24 - October

ACRRM telehealth provider directory
 
When referring a patient, finding the right specialist can be difficult. Finding one that also offers consultations using telehealth (video consultation) is even harder, especially when it is outside of your referring network.  ACRRM has enhanced its telehealth provider directory http://www.ehealth.acrrm.org.au/provider-directory (with approx. 1200 providers) to identify clinicians who in addition to being telehealth enabled are Visiting Specialists and the directory includes the locations they visit.

Plus you can now find a telehealth mentor, who is a clinician making themselves available to support others with the implementation and use of telehealth in their practice.  Since the update to the ACRRM telehealth provider directory in September we now have 22 telehealth mentors and 34 Visiting Specialists registered.  If you haven’t registered on the College’s ehealth website, register today to access and use these new features in the telehealth provider directory.
http://www.ehealth.acrrm.org.au/user/register?destination=provider-directory
 
Why is Telemedicine Suddenly Hot?
An article in Forbes suggests that there is an inflection point of interest in telemedicine, which coincides with health services cost pressures, increased broadband and the rebirth of 'relationship medicine'. See full article here.
Telstra Initiates GP Telehealth Service – AMA Responds

A service providing video consultations from GPs direct to patients has been announced by Telstra, and is intended to be expanded to GPs to use in their own practices: http://bit.ly/1rOEUjv 

It has attracted some controversy from the Australian Medical Association, who says that it could take people away from engaging with their own practice: http://bit.ly/1nL5jlU

And Telstra has responded by saying that they want to move their platform into regular general practice:  http://bit.ly/1tAUqoC

What do you think? This is an interesting debate about whether telehealth is a useful tool for integration of care or can have an unintended effect of fragmentation. I expect to see more about this issue as telehealth becomes more widely taken up.
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