$15.7 million government telehealth test program ends

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This weekend marked the end of the test program where 28 Medicare Local centres received extra funding to assist in the implementation of telehealth into daily medical practices. The emphasis was on rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas. The budget was $15.7 million for the test program.

In the Western NSW Medicare Local region, up to 65% of general practices were engaged, predominantly using Skype. However it is believed that a new conference technology, WebRTC, which is backed by Google and Mozilla, is more appropriate and will eventually take over. As the funding has dried up the organising staff is being disbursed without a clear forward path.