Dr Annie Banbury, Clinical Research Lead at Coviu speaks with Hospital and Healthcare about the massive role telehealth can play in providing support for NDIS care.
NDIS participants living in rural and remote Australia are facing significant issues accessing support to achieve their goals. This is resulting in large amounts of unused funds and many left needing help.
When looking at rural and remote Australia, there are insufficient allied health providers. Remote areas have less than half the number of psychologists (65% less), 50% fewer physiotherapists and 65% fewer occupational therapists for comparable population sizes. Dr Banbury reports that this disparity means participants have a lack of access, which can hinder their ability to achieve their goals, making the NDIS program less effective for them.
By tapping into technology tools, and specifically video telehealth services, NDIS participants in rural and remote areas can have ongoing and more frequent support from providers to help them set and achieve their goals. It also provides access to a broader pool of allied health professionals with specific expertise, making the NDIS program and support more effective, Dr Banbury says.
Another key challenge is the use of funding to cover the travel costs of health practitioners and non-clinical staff such as support coordinators. In metropolitan areas, a provider may travel over 30 to 40 minutes each way to visit a participant. However, the travel time is a cost incurred by the NDIS participant and deducted from their budget. The issue with the cost of travel is the inequality of fund use between rural, remote and metropolitan participants. Increased access through telehealth, for appropriate appointments, can play a key role in overcoming this problem, Dr Banbury says.
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