Western Australia puts $36.5 million into telehealth

The Western Australia government last week announced it will spend $36.5 million on telehealth services in six country hospitals located in inland Western Australia.

The initiative, funded under the Liberal-National Government’s Royalties for Regions Program, is the centerpiece of the State Government’s spending on health in the 2011-2012 State Budget and aims to reform and improve access to healthcare, according to a government statement.

Last month the Australia government also announced that telehealth would be included under Medicare , which would benefit patients in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas. The telehealth included under Medicare includes medical specialist video consultations for patients with limited access to better healthcare.

This new $36.5 million telehealth Investment will introduce innovative ‘e’ technology and will increase use of telehealth technology across the region, including equipment upgrades for hospitals, according to a government statement.

The telehealth initiative falls under the Southern Inland Health Initiative (SIHI), which also includes district hospital upgrades; medical workforce; primary health care demonstrations; aged care; and small hospital and nursing post refurbishment. The Western Australia government will spend a projected $147 million on the SIHI initiative in 2011-2012.

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