Almost 90% satisfaction with virtual care ‘a good start’

2 minute read

The NSW health minister has promised continued investment in telehealth following positive findings from the Bureau of Health Information.

In NSW, 18% of Medicare-subsidised GP consultations in 2023 were provided via telehealth, among the highest across all jurisdictions nationwide, although lower than the 2021 peak of 23%.

New data from the Bureau of Health Information showed virtual care services across NSW continued to report high patient satisfaction rankings, although uptake has declined gradually since the onset of the covid pandemic.

Around 86% of patients reported the virtual care they received was “good” or “very good” in the 2022 Adult Admitted Patient Survey, one of two surveys used to inform the report.

NSW also reported some of the lowest rates of Medicare-subsidised specialist consultations performed through virtual care compared to other states and territories, with only 9% of subsidised specialist consultations conducted via telehealth in 2023.

Results from the NSW Patient Survey program, featuring data from more than 2000 patients using virtual care services through public hospital outpatient clinics between August and September 2023, showed 87% stated health professionals “always” explained information in ways that were easy to understand.

Results also showed greater use of virtual care appointments was associated with a higher likelihood of patients ranking their care as “well coordinated” between hospitals and their GP.

Addressing NSW Parliament earlier today, Minister for Health Ryan Park said the BHI findings were “certainly positive” although more work needed to be done

“I am very pleased that just under 90% of people said they were comfortable with the [virtual] care being delivered, they understood it, they were comfortable in it and they’re satisfied,” Minister Park said.

“[There’s] more to do. We’re going to continue to invest in virtual care, but that’s certainly positive, that’s a start.”

According to ABS data collected between 2022 and 2023, more than a quarter of Australians aged 15 years and over reported receiving at least one virtual care consultation in the last twelve months.

The full BHI virtual care report is available here.

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