Monday, July 6, 2015

Is Seems Telstra Is About To Make A Big Splash in Telemedicine. I Wonder How Heavily It Will Be Used?

There was a great deal of coverage after the Telstra Press Release.

Telstra Health’s ReadyCare new option to connect patients to doctors

Telstra Health today launched ReadyCare, its GP telemedicine service that gives Australians the choice to connect with a doctor using phone or video and receive advice, treatment, diagnosis and prescriptions.
The service will make accessing a doctor easier, especially at times when people may not be able to visit their regular GP such as after hours, on weekends or while travelling. It can be accessed by calling 1800 READYCARE (1800 732392) or through the ReadyCare app.
Shane Solomon, Managing Director of Telstra Health, said that ReadyCare has employed registered Australian doctors who will operate the service 24 hours a day. Patients will first speak to a telemedicine assistant to determine if the call is suitable for a telemedicine consultation and a GP will then call them back at a time that suits the patient. The service operates from a purpose built telemedicine centre in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria.
“We’ve seen what the digital revolution has meant for other sectors and we believe that healthcare in Australia will benefit from eHealth to better serve all Australians,” Mr Solomon said.
“This will provide choice and convenience for people to access a GP regardless of their location or the time of day, particularly in circumstances when they find it hard to access a face to face doctor. Patients can talk with a GP using phone or video, upload images of their condition and receive comprehensive care.
“ReadyCare is based on technology and processes used by Medgate, the leading telemedicine provider in Europe, who currently conduct more than 4,300 telemedicine consultations daily. The evidence-based clinical guidelines have been refined to meet Australian conditions, with input from a Clinical Advisory Panel and delivered by qualified, Australian based doctors,” Mr Solomon said.
Gianin Zogg, who leads Medgate’s international business and has been involved with Medgate since its inception 15 years ago, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Dr Amandeep Hansra has been appointed as the Chief Medical Officer. The service will be advised by a Clinical Advisory Panel of:
  • Dr Chris Mitchell AM, past President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Associate Professor Bruce Chater OAM, past President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Associate Professor Sally McCarthy, past President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
Mr Solomon emphasised that while ReadyCare will employ the doctors at the time of launch, the long term aim is for ReadyCare to be available for any GP to use with their regular patients.
“We’re introducing and operating ReadyCare in the first instance to demonstrate how telemedicine services can be provided safely and address issues such as timely access to care, but ultimately we want it to be a platform that will enable GPs to provide convenient and accessible telemedicine services for their own patients.
“ReadyCare is intended to be a complementary service, not a replacement for a regular face to face GP appointment. Telemedicine has proven very effective in delivering quality care for patients in other parts of the world, especially the USA and Europe and we are confident Australians will embrace the service,” Mr Solomon said.
Telstra Health also announced that Cover-More Group, Australia’s leading specialist travel insurance and medical assistance provider, had signed on as a foundation customer of ReadyCare’s telemedicine service.
The release with more details is found here:
Typical press coverage was found here:

Telstra's GP telemedicine service, ReadyCare, is up and running

Simon Thomsen Jul 2, 2015, 11:10 AM
and here:

Telstra launches its telemedicine service

ReadyCare opens for consultations
and here:

24/7 televideo e-health: the doctor will see you now … via video

Mitchell Bingemann

It seems the service plans to charge between $70 and $80 per consultation so it will be interesting how heavily used the service is and just what level of patient satisfaction is achieved.
We can track how it is going by seeing how Telstra Health’s revenue rises over time I guess. Will be interesting.
Will also be interesting to see how the medico-legal issues etc. have been resolved.
(Disclosure - I have a few Telstra Shares in my super fund)

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