APLAR interviews: Telerheumatology

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"Patients generally do prefer telehealth for lots of different reasons," says rheumatologist Dr Helen Benham

Victorian rheumatologist Peter Ryan has been offering telehealth for years using “simple Skype”.

“Teleheath is something I can’t live without,” he says. “I started telehealth 16 years ago with the help of Medicare and various medical indemnity societies. Now, I could not practice without it. I could not deliver what I do to country patients in a way that they’ve come to love.”

Speaking with Rheumatology Republic reporter Felicity Nelson at at APLAR-ARA 2019 in Brisbane this week, Associate Professor Ryan shared his experiences in telerheumatology in Victoria.

Rheumatology Republic also spoke with rheumatologist Dr Helen Benham (pictured above), who has been running a “hub and spoke” telehealth model of care for 200 patients annually at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

The telehealth patients still have to see their rheumatologists face-to-face every 12 months, and Dr Benham “universally get groans” from patients at that time of year.

“It really demonstrates, as the research does, that patients generally do prefer telehealth for lots of different reasons,” she says.



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