Digital health has the potential to help close the gap in health equity between people living in rural communities and those living in the city.

digital-health

Digital health technologies can improve access to health services, reduce the need for people in the country to travel for healthcare, and lower the overall costs of healthcare for patients.

Rural Health West supports the uptake of digital health technologies through advocacy, education and training for rural health professionals and support the efforts of other organisations in the digital health sector.  You can read more about our involvement in digital health below.


Advocacy

 Rural Health West acts as an advocate for rural health service providers. Through our advocacy, we seek to improve the ability of rural health professionals to overcome barriers that may be preventing them from using digital health technologies.

We advocate for:

  • improved remuneration models for telehealth and other remote services 
  • introduction of digital health technology standards to create a level playing field
  • improved sharing of patient information between private practice and the public health system
  • increased use of My Health Record.

Advocacy work includes:

Successes

 

Education

Rural Health West offers an extensive suite of professional development opportunities for rural-based health professionals. Digital health is amongst the wide range of topics we cover. Browse our events calendar for upcoming professional development opportunities.

Many of our organisational partners offer education and information on digital health in Australia. Below is a list of links to digital health education that may be of interest.

External professional development opportunities:

Research

Rural Health West is currently developing a research and resource library with the latest digital health information as it applies to the rural Western Australian context. We have also produced our own research into the barriers and enablers of digital health in Western Australian General Practice.

Research articles:

Telehealth services in rural and remote Australia: a systematic review of models of care and factors influencing success and sustainability 

Our experience in using telehealth for paediatric plastic surgery in Western Australia 

Digital health in melanoma post-treatment care in rural and remote Australia: a systematic review

Support

In partnership with WA Primary Health Alliance, Rural Health West provides practice support, guidance and advice through Practice Assist. Practice Assist offers one-on-one phone support to general medical and allied health practices in Western Australia, and has a wide range of fact sheets relating to digital health in general practice.

Practice Assist: 1800 227 747 or email practiceassist@wapha.org.au

Update on GP MBS Telehealth items

On 1 November 2019, 12 new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for telehealth video consultations with patients living in rural and remote areas were introduced, making the use of videoconferencing more economically viable for GPs in remote locations.

The following information relates to the new MBS items and their use:
Fact sheet - GP Telehealth Items in MMM 6 and 7
Quick Reference Guide - GP Telehealth Items in MMM 6 and 7
Frequently Asked Questions - GP Telehealth Items in MMM 6 and 7