When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic in March 2020 it had already become clear that COVID would require swift countermeasures to curb its worst effects and preserve access to health services.
Over the course of a long weekend, Australia’s Commonwealth Health Department was able to put together core elements of a health system plan to expand access to telehealth services, i.e consultations via phone or video call.
Health Minister Greg Hunt gave departmental officials wide scope and flexibility to implement telehealth, and the experience became a prime example of how COVID allowed public services the licence to do things differently.
Bureaucratic obstacles were jumped in a single bound to make telehealth part of the Medicare Benefits Schedule. By the end of 2022 more than 111 million telehealth consultations had been delivered, and telehealth had become a permanent and mainstream part of medicine in Australia. This Case looks at the process for the fast adoption of telehealth, and the tweaks to implementation required during subsequent months, through interviews with public servants and members of the health industry.
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- Authors: Marinella Padula
- Published Date: 24 April 2023
- Author Institution: ANZSOG
- Content Length: 16
- Product Type: Case with teaching note