The Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth has the potential to be of enormous benefit across a range of different health care settings. Noted for its ability to reduce the barriers of time and distance faced by rural patients needing specialist consultations, telehealth can also improve patient outcomes for chronic illnesses, lower hospital admissions, reduce travel budgets and boost productivity.
Telehealth is identified as an important tool for clinical integration under the National Health IT Plan and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has identified health as a priority area for faster broadband.
- Patients: Faster access to care mean shorter wait times. Remote patients can remain close to home, making consultations more convenient and reducing travel.
- DHBs: Reduced inequality within the health system through improved access to care. Increased educational options for DHB staff via specialist video training.
- Specialists/consultants: Less time spent travelling for consultations. Greater control over scheduling. Enhances working relationship between specialists and primary health care providers.
- Aged care workers/nurses: Convenient access to care reduces the need to transfer elderly patients. Increases nurses' knowledge through more exposure to specialist consultations.
- General Practitioners: Results in GPs serving multiple rural health facilities travelling less frequently. Store & Forward allows for accessible referrals and second opinions without scheduling conflicts.
- Allied health workers: Rehabilitation and physiotherapy often make for a great use of videocommunication, resulting in less time and budget needing to be allocated to travel.