Sarah Courtney,Minister for Health
The health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmanians is the State Liberal Government’s number one priority as we continue through the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 19-23 October is Telehealth Awareness Week, so over next week the Tasmanian Health Service will be shining a light on some of the ways in which telehealth by video conference is improving access and healthcare for public patients and clinicians.
The Tasmanian Government has boosted telehealth services at a time when we’ve needed it the most – providing more capacity for phone or video appointments to encourage delivery of more health services in the home, where safe to do so.
Thousands of Tasmanians were introduced to the convenience of health appointments at home during COVID-19 and the Government is keen to extend this beyond the pandemic.
During the pandemic, Tasmania saw a 1,200 per cent increase in telehealth by videoconference, following the expansion from 20 virtual rooms to now being able to accommodate up to 5,000 virtual appointment bookings.
This allows patients to connect with health professionals from their home or local health service without travelling to sometimes distant hospitals or medical centres.
Using telehealth, patients can consult with a clinician who may be at the other end of the state, saving them time away from school, work or family and the cost of travel.
Patients can ask family, carers or friends to sit in on the appointment if they wish.
Between March and August, telehealth services saved Tasmanians around 3.63 million kilometres of travel, 45,536 hours of travel time and 40 flights to appointments.
A handy spin-off was the estimated 661 million tonnes of CO2 emissions saved.
Tasmanians are encouraged to discuss telehealth options with their healthcare professionals.
Learn more about telehealth service at https://outpatients.tas.gov.au/patients/telehealth_tasmania