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Aust Health Rev. 2010 Aug;34(3):276-81. doi: 10.1071/AH09794.

The reported benefits of telehealth for rural Australians.

Author information

1
The University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Rural Clinical School, Toowoomba DC, QLD 4350, Australia.

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 benefits 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 specialist through the use of telehealth may contribute to improved rural medical workforces recruitment and retention.

PMID:
20797357
DOI:
10.1071/AH09794
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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