CANBERRA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Rural Australians who have limited access to medical help are set to benefit from a new "telehealth solution" devised by Australian scientists and regional health network Health Team Australia (HTA).
A statement released by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) on Tuesday said the project, called Coviu, is expected to connect up to 20,000 Australians who previously struggled to receive advice with "online healthcare professionals."
HTA spokesperson Andrew Mahony said the online, video-based program would increase quality of life in rural areas as it would offer patients "on demand" access to health professionals.
"Coviu gives health professionals direct access to the lives of remote patients so they can prescribe a health plan that is meaningful to their lives and relevant to their situation," Mahony said.
"It enables us to provide individuals and organizations in rural and remote areas with evidence-based support and on-demand access to allied health experts and it gives people the opportunity to stay in their community for longer as they age and continue to play a meaningful role."
Meanwhile Coviu's project director, Silvia Pfeiffer said the platform would not only bridge the gap in face-to-face medical assistance, but would also allow doctors to "live-share medical data and images."
"Approximately 10 percent of the Australian population is spread across 90 percent of its area, and these people have poor access to medical specialists that's taken for granted in large metropolitan areas," Pfeiffer said.
"There is a real need to make video consultations a standard delivery mechanism of health services across Australia. Coviu does so in an affordable manner with the tools that clinicians need."
Almost half of all Australians suffer chronic diseases such as cancer or diabetes, but many people in rural areas are undiagnosed. The CSIRO believes the platform will "address inequities" faced by regional Australians.