October 26, 2020

An update from Dr Paul Eleftheriou, Chief Medical Officer

It’s an exciting week at Western Health with this our very first Telehealth Awareness Week. This is an occasion to celebrate our achievements to date and to spread the word about the many benefits of Telehealth and ongoing opportunities for providing care over distance.

Telehealth video call capability was launched in April as part of our COVID-19 response. Day one we commenced with just one clinic, the Addiction Medicine clinic, now Telehealth is used by over 60 clinics across all sites and approximately 1485 video consultations have been conducted so far.

To see our clinicians so quickly embrace using Telehealth over the last six months has been truly inspiring. I thank all those who have worked extraordinarily hard to implement Telehealth during COVID-19 and those who have welcomed this new way of working to ensure our patients continue to receive Best Care.

I’d like to share with you just a little of the Telehealth feedback I’ve recently had.

Dr Victoria Cheng, a Cardiology Consultant who has been seeing patients via Telehealth in Cardiology Outpatients, has commented:

“I’ve been impressed at the delivery of video telehealth as a tool and the hard work that has gone into preparing patients ahead of time. Giving patients flexibility as to how they engage with medical services, focusing on personalised care, we can improve patient outcomes and both patient and clinician satisfaction.”

Darren Fraser is an orthopaedic physiotherapist who is using Telehealth appointments to ensure continuing care for his patients. Darren has stated:

“One of my patients was struggling to weight bear after a leg break. A mum with three young children, COVID restrictions made it too difficult for her to attend face to face appointments with a lack of a carer to look after her children and home schooling commitments. With video call appointments we were able to continue physiotherapy at the times that suited her in difficult circumstances and I’m so happy to say that she is now walking well.”

Allied Health are big users of Telehealth with 60.2% of all Allied Health outpatient appointments conducted by Telehealth (phone or video) since 1st July this year.  Telehealth has meant Allied Health Outpatients has maintained 76% of normal business capacity, compared with the previous year, despite a reduction in referrals and less patients wanting to attend appointments due to COVID-19.

Long beyond COVID, Telehealth will continue to be valuable for our patients struggling with transportation, mobility or time and many of our clinicians have inspiring ideas on how Telehealth can be embraced and enhanced in the future.

For those reading this who are completely new to Western Health Telehealth:

Click here to view the Western Health Telehealth website which contains information for our patients and community

Click here to view the Telehealth page on the Digital Health information site which contains information for staff

To hear more, Dr Rick Horton, Chief Medical Informatics Officer and the Telehealth Team will be presenting during this week’s Research and Best Care Conference.

Friday 30th October at 2pm. ‘Telehealth development during our COVID response’ Password: 12345

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about Telehealth. If you are interested in setting up your Western Health clinic or service with Telehealth Video Call please email the team: telehealth@wh.org.au





Dr Paul Eleftheriou

Chief Medical Officer



October 26, 2020