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Data61 enters into partnership to launch telehealth solution for remote areas in Australia

Data61 (CSIRO’s data institute) has formed a partnership with regional allied health network Health Team Australia (HTA) to provide an easy-to-use telehealth solution in rural and remote areas of Australia. It is expected to connect up to 20,000 patients with online healthcare professionals.

Starting from November 2016, a real-time communication online video platform from Coviu, one of Data61’s projects, is being rolled out to HTA customers across Australia to, so that they can access existing solutions and services from healthcare professionals. Intended users include exercise physiologists, dieticians, psychologists, mental health nurses and occupational therapists.

HTA will be partnering with other organisations to extend reach. For instance, the non-profit organisation, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has started delivering these services to metropolitan communities in Victoria, NSW and the ACT. YMCA is now extending their health plan and coaching services to those that don’t have access to a local YMCA.

Coviu enables rich video collaboration using standard consumer hardware over consumer internet. The communication platform integrates seamlessly into existing workflows, allowing practitioners to live-share medical data and images.

The press release quotes a statistic of less than 4% of health practitioners in private practice offering telehealth services, as of 2016. Explaining the rationale for the partnership, Coviu Project Director, Dr. Silvia Pfeiffer, said, "Approximately 10 per cent of the Australian population is spread across 90 percent of its area, and these people have poor access to medical specialists that's taken for granted in large metropolitan areas. There is a real need to make video consultations a standard delivery mechanism of health services across Australia. Coviu does so in an affordable manner with the tools that clinicians need."

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