Virtual Healthcare – How can evidence help us to deliver virtual primary and community care?

Victoria Koutsoubos

Showcasing the current evidence base and ongoing challenges associated with virtual healthcare, guest speakers and panellists provided their perspectives on its use in primary and community health. A panel of clinicians, academics, researchers and consumers shared their reflections on the successes and challenges of integrating virtual healthcare into practice.

Adjunct Clinical Professor Karen Price, immediate past President of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and Professor Grant Russell, primary care clinician and health services researcher, offered a general practice perspective of virtual care. They described the evidence of clinical effectiveness, the advantages of telehealth, and the challenges and complexity of comprehensive and appropriate virtual care.

Jagdeep Singh, a multicultural community engagement network member in southeast Melbourne, described his experience of utilising virtual care and the challenges of equitable virtual care for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Associate Professor Peter Malliaras, a physiotherapist and researcher, recounted his approach to treating musculoskeletal pain virtually, including the pros/cons and detailed screening process to ensure safe and appropriate telehealth consults.

Dr. Kristie Matthews, a senior lecturer and coordinator of the Student Telehealth Program in the School of Primary and Allied Health Care at Monash University, described an innovative new education program integrating telehealth processes and strategies. She shared her learnings and explained how the integrated program prepared students for professional practice.

The webinar ended with a lively Q&A discussion responding to participant questions and comments. The panel discussion explored the key challenges facing primary and community care as virtual care evolves into everyday clinical practice.