A $5 million boost into furthering the quality and safety of telehealth


Six expert teams will share in over $5 million in funding to stimulate research into ensuring the quality and safety of telehealth, and its potential to achieve positive health outcomes under the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Targeted Call for Research (TCR): Ensuring the quality and safety of telehealth 2023.

Following its expansion in March 2020, telehealth has been transformational to our nation’s primary healthcare system and has since become a permanent fixture for Australians seeking diagnostic, treatment and prevention medical services by either phone or video call.

The collective aims of the projects announced under this funding are to identify and understand factors that influence which populations, health conditions and interactions can be effectively managed by telehealth services, and to develop tools and supports that assist health providers select the most appropriate telehealth services.

It is also intended to develop a solid evidence-base that can inform future health policy on the appropriateness of telehealth modalities in delivering healthcare.

Professor Jonathon Karnon of Flinders University will lead a collaborative project aiming to improve the design and application of virtual emergency department services in Australia and is among those receiving funding today.

Professor Karnon’s project will enable safe, excellent quality, and high value virtual emergency care for non-life-threatening cases, reducing delays in access to appropriate healthcare services and reducing patient distress.

Professor Meredith Makeham and team from the University of Sydney will explore the safety, quality, acceptability, and sustainability of using telehealth for those living in residential aged care homes (RACHs).

This project aims to evaluate telehealth from the perspectives of residents, carers, RACHs and general practitioners to produce decision-making support and tools for clinicians. It will produce health economic guidance to improve RACH telehealth adoption and residents’ access to healthcare services.

A TCR is a one-time request for grant applications to address a specific health issue where there is significant research knowledge gap or unmet need.

All the funding details announced today are available on NHMRC’s outcomes of funding rounds webpage.

Quotes attributable to NHMRC CEO, Professor Steve Wesselingh:

  • “Targeted Calls for Research support researchers to address specific health issues or topics that would benefit from further health and medical research.”

  • “Ensuring the quality and safety of Australia’s national telehealth services through targeted projects, such as those announced today, will help to optimise and future-proof the system.”

  • “These projects will be able to provide us with a strong evidence base for telehealth services, and how they can be optimised to provide significant improvements to health at both an individual and population level.”

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