The RFDS in VIC
Flying Doctor Telehealth
Access to health services is a problem faced by many rural Victorians. Some barriers for access include the cost of appointment and travel, time off work and long wait lists.
Many rural communities do not have nearby access to specialist services, requiring patients to travel significant distances to Melbourne or larger regional centres to manage their health. Hindered access to specialist services often leads to patients delaying seeking specialist care, which can result in avoidable hospitalisation and complications.
To combat this lack of access to specialist services, RFDS Victoria launched a Telehealth service in November 2013.
Why this service is so important
Using a purpose built platform, RFDS Victoria works with small rural health services to support patients in booking and attending their online appointments.
The service allows for patients to have a 100% bulk billed appointment with their specialist, without needing to travel to Melbourne and pay for transport or accommodation.
Specialist services that are available on the Flying Doctor Telehealth Platform include Cardiology, Endocrinology, Geriatrics, Psychiatry Respiratory and more.
Refer to the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights for information about the rights of patients and other people using the Australian health system.
RFDS works with over 120 host services across Victoria to deliver over 7000 telehealth appointments since 2013.
On average, patients rate their satisfaction with telehealth as 4.75 out of 5.
In 2020, access to Flying Doctor Telehealth services saved rural clients a total of 234,568 kilometres of travel. This is an average of 4.5 hours of travel saved per appointment, when compared to accessing the nearest bulk billing specialist service.