Digital Health in Australia's Remote Communities

Around 7 million people, nearly 28% of Australia’s population, live in remote and rural areas of the country. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, these rural communities are disproportionately impacted by chronic conditions and multimorbidity, and do not have the same access to healthcare as Australian’s living in major cities.

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Digital health solutions have the potential to tackle health inequalities and provide those living in rural communities with digital alternatives to traditional forms of healthcare. Keep reading as we dive into a few ways that digital health can benefit rural and remote communities...

1. Remote monitoring

Digital platforms, medical devices and wearables all have the capacity to have remote monitoring and symptom tracking features. Patients can use these features to track their progress over time, increasing understanding of their condition, while remote monitoring can also be used to alert healthcare providers when additional support may be necessary. Providers like Sofihub create assisted living technologies in Australia that enable remote patient monitoring.

2. Telehealth services

Rural communities in Australia face the challenge of distance; with specialist services often too far away to travel to. Telehealth presents a solution to this by providing access to virtual consultations with healthcare professionals. These consultations can be used for real-time video appointments and prescription orders, reducing the need for people in rural communities to travel.

3. Electronic health records

The Australian Digital Health Agency's My Health Record  stores patient data in one place, bringing together information provided by the individual, Medicare and other healthcare providers. The record provides a complete overview to each individual’s health history, allowing health professionals to administer the best care and providing access to records regardless of geographic location.

4. Tailored information sharing

Digital solutions like Tailored Talks focus on delivering personalised information to inform self-care of chronic conditions. Equipping patients with relevant information that is tailored to the them, the Tailored Talks platform has the potential to improve quality of life and reduce inequalities in access to health information, while empowering patients to self-manage their health conditions. 

By incorporating digital solutions like these, remote and rural communities in Australia can benefit from improved healthcare access, better patient experience, preventative care and enhanced health outcomes.