Telehealth consultations surge during COVID-19, says UQ
Telehealth services in Australia have surged during COVID-19, with more than 1.1 million consultations provided in March alone, according to new research from the University of Queensland.
Of these appointments, more than 161,000 were for specialists — representing a tenfold increase from earlier that month.
More than 91% of all consultations were delivered by phone and the remainder via video consultation.
The data, derived from Medicare, is now publicly available on the first website of its kind in Australia — showing users how the uptake of telehealth appointments is spread across general practice, allied health, psychiatry and nursing.
UQ Centre for Online Health Director Professor Anthony Smith said researchers have made the raw data digestible and easy to understand for health professionals, the general public, government, health service researchers and health insurance agencies.
In turn the website can help Australia plan for longer-term and more pervasive telehealth services in the future.
“This data will improve our understanding of how telehealth is adopted around the country, particularly during health crises,” he said.
“Our focus now is to ensure the right systems are in place for telehealth to become sustainable long term in conjunction with in-person consultations.”
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