Telerheumatology: an idea whose time has come

Internal Medicine Journal
L J RobertsC Barrett


Australia is a vast country with one-third of the population living outside capital cities. Providing specialist rheumatologist services to regional, rural and remote Australians has generally required expensive and time-consuming travel for the patient and/or specialist. As a result, access to specialist care for remote Australians is poor. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common disease, but like many rheumatic diseases, it is complex to treat. Time-dependent joint damage and disability occur unless best evidence care is implemented. The relatively poor access to rheumatologist care allotted to nonmetropolitan Australians therefore represents a significant cause of potentially preventable disability in Australia. Telehealth has the potential to improve access to specialist rheumatologists for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, thereby decreasing the burden of disability caused by these diseases. Advances in videoconferencing technology, the national broadband rollout and recent Federal government financial incentives have led to a heightened interest in exploring the use of this technology in Australian rheumatology practice. This review summarises the current evidence base, outlines telehealth's streng...Continue Reading


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