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What is telehealth?

Learn about telehealth

Telehealth involves the use of telecommunications and virtual technology to deliver health care to patients located geographically remotely from the clinician. Telehealth may be delivered via telephone or video-conferencing, however video-conferencing offers the advantages of visual contact between the patient and clinician. Clinicians may at times choose to switch between video and telephone consultations depending on technical or patient factors.

Internet-enabled video consultations allow widespread reach of health services


On 29 March 2020, the Australian Government announced whole of population Medicare-funded telehealth (telephone or video consultations) for all eligible Australians seeking general practice, primary care and specialist services. This includes allied health services such as physiotherapy for patients on chronic disease management plans/team care arrangements. Most private health insurers also instituted member rebates for telehealth services provided by physiotherapists. Note that Australian telehealth funding is subject to change and clinicians should ascertain telehealth funding arrangements in their local jurisdiction prior to delivering services.

Provision and uptake of video consultations for medical care for many health problems has grown steadily since the introduction of Medicare rebates and doctor incentives in 2011. By the end of March 2013, Medicare payments for >77,000 telehealth services to >33,000 patients by >7,700 doctors had occurred.

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