Dr Annie Banbury, Head of Clinical Research at Coviu, supports the implementation of digital solutions in rural medicine to address challenges and enhance healthcare access for rural populations.
Dr Banbury emphasises the need to revolutionise rural medicine in Australia in Queensland Country Life's Letter to the Editor on Thursday, June 1st 2023. Due to unequal access to healthcare in rural and remote areas, telehealth is a necessity for rural communities to ensure healthcare reaches those in need. The opinion piece highlights the high number of people in Queensland who lack access to primary healthcare services within a reasonable driving distance. The article mentions the challenges faced by rural aged care residents who experience long wait times to see a doctor, resulting in unaddressed health problems and potential hospital transfers. While recent budget announcements have aimed to support the aged care system, more action is needed to improve access to care for remote patients.
The solution Dr Banbury proposes is the integration and expansion of digital technologies, under the umbrella of virtual care, to enhance healthcare delivery. By enabling healthcare providers to promptly address patient issues, virtual care can offer timely care and potentially prevent unnecessary hospital transfers. Implementing digital healthcare solutions in rural and remote areas can ensure that patients receive care closer to their homes, reducing the burden of travel. The use of digital solutions across various healthcare sectors has the potential to revolutionise rural medicine, ultimately improving the lives of regional patients and reducing strain on the current healthcare system.