Australian families have found telehealth to be a convenient solution to the challenges of accessing healthcare during the pandemic however, many aren’t getting the most out of the experience with some parents opting to dial in for their child’s appointment while driving or while out at the shops.
Most parents (85%) understand the importance of having telehealth appointments in a quiet and private place, however one in four (26%) felt it was okay to have the appointment while at the shops or driving a car (24%).
Dr Anthea Rhodes, Paediatrician and Poll Director, said parents who had used telehealth were appreciating the convenience of this form of healthcare as they become more familiar with it.
“The wide availability of telehealth has been critical to safely deliver health care to children through periods of lockdown and decreased mobility during the pandemic. But more than that, parents are recognising the benefits of telehealth care beyond the pandemic. Australian families have busy lives and most parents (69%) say that telehealth is a convenient option for their family because it means less time away from school and other activities. More than half of parents say they prefer telehealth because they do not need as much time off work. This has benefits for individual children and families, as well as for our economy.”
While many Australian families have accessed health care via telehealth in the past 12 months, and 85 per cent of all parents would consider using telehealth in the future, there were still concerns for parents around quality of care.
Through this latest poll, the RCH found that 79 per cent of parents reported quality of care as a reason they may not use telehealth, saying that the care may not be as good as an in-person appointment. Almost two in three parents (61%) also had concerns around data security and the privacy of their child’s information.
“Telehealth is not a replacement for face-to-face care and it’s important to remember that telehealth should only be used where it is medically appropriate, depending on the child, their circumstances and the reason for seeking healthcare. Often, telehealth is a great option for follow-up appointments where an initial diagnosis has been made, and an established relationship exists between the patient and health care provider,” said Dr Rhodes.
Reassuringly, most families (67%) who have had experiences using telehealth said they felt the care they received online was just as good as what they would have received face-to-face and almost all would consider using it again (92%).
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Information for parents
Tips for parents
- Ensure your child is with you if they are required to be there for the appointment
- Make sure the device you are using for your appointment is fully charged
- Find a private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed
- Have books or toys nearby to entertain your child while you wait for your appointment
- Have a notepad handy to write down notes or any questions you might have during the appointment
- Avoid diverting your attention to other activities like driving or walking around the shops for the duration of your appointment
- Ensure you have a good internet or Wi-Fi connection
- If you are using the computer, have your phone nearby as a back-up contact option for your health care provider