Almost 40 per cent of Australian healthcare professionals have nominated better information sharing as their number one wish for improving population health.
Commissioned by Philips, the Telehealth: delivering value across institutional and geographical borders report revealed that the rate of adoption of telehealth solutions worldwide is still relatively slow, despite an increase in attitudes favouring connected care technologies.
Specifically, in Australia, 38 per cent of healthcare professionals said accessible, secure information sharing platforms between healthcare professionals would have the most positive impact on Australians taking care of their health.
In Australia, a barrier to using telehealth was identified to be the “human touch” aspect of care, with only 14 per cent of the population saying remote appointments using hologram doctors in their home would have the most impact on improving healthcare today.
Local healthcare professionals that do use telehealth are primarily interested in interacting with their patients online for scheduling appointments (74 per cent), receiving test results (67 per cent) and video consultations (52 per cent), indicating there is some interest in remotely communicating with patients.
In addition, 74 per cent said IT-based cloud solutions around communication, record management and reporting will have a positive impact on primary care, hospital or healthcare staff.
But only 23 per cent of the Australian general population and 17 per cent of Australian healthcare professionals think the health system in Australia is very or completely integrated.
Almost three quarters agreed that connected care devices should be standardised so that all devices can interact with all parts of the health system no matter who makes them.
And of those who have used connected care technology, 60 per cent said they have shared their data or health information with a healthcare professional, with 22 per cent saying that they do not understand the easiest way to share data with a healthcare professional.
The study also showcased the adoption landscape across 16 countries. Despite the ever-growing number of case studies linking telehealth to more effective care and lower costs, the adoption landscape across these countries is mixed.
[Read more: Call for Medicare to catch up, as the momentum of telehealth uptake grows | HealthEngine survey shows patients want on-demand convenience and calls for GPs to sign up to new teleheath platform]
The report identified five key factors that are potential, though not insurmountable, barriers to widespread telehealth adoption, which include outdated reimbursement and payment models, inadequate technological infrastructures, restrictive policies, cultural attitudes and a lack of financial incentives.
According to Philips ASEAN Pacific CEO Caroline Clarke, these five factors indicate the success of value-based care systems.
“A key function of telehealth is connecting people, data and systems. This ensures that patients, no matter when or where they are, can access quality care,” Clarke said.
“[The] report plays an important part in helping countries such as Australia identify the key barriers to the adoption of telehealth solutions, and find solutions to ensure our healthcare system is operating optimally and the health of the general population continues to progress.
“As with other aspects of connected care, success in telehealth will ultimately be based on the involvement of multiple actors – healthcare professionals, the general population, payers, regulators and the private sector – together with the recognition that healthcare is, at heart, a human field that depends on people,” Clarke said.