Government unveils $5m telehealth project in South Australia

The mental health project includes 100 new videoconferencing units.

A $5 million telehealth project aims to enhance delivery of mental health care in South Australia. The project, announced today, is funded by the Commonwealth and the South Australian government under the $20 million digital regions initiative.

The mental health project includes more than 100 new videoconferencing units to upgrade call and image quality for more than 80 sites around the state, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said. The project aims to reduce patient travel time, enable online access to health services, connect patients with family members living far away and “deliver rount the clock emergency triage and liaison services,” the department said.

“People in rural and remote locations across South Australia now have access to high-definition telehealth facilities, which allow psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in Adelaide to provide vital health services to those who need it, when they need it,” said communications minister Stephen Conroy.

Rollout of the NBN will bring more services like this across Australia, he added.

The South Australia digital telehealth network has already been a success, said Lone Bignell, the state’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing.

“This initiative allows people to receive face-to-face expert health advice from Adelaide-based specialists without having to leave their own communities,” he said. “I have been hearing great feedback right across the state from patients and hospital staff. People living in rural and regional areas are really embracing telemedicine.”

The Commonwealth recently announced another project funded by the digital regions initiative in the Northern Territory.

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