Bushfire has engulfed a devastatingly large part of Australia this summer. As a country we’ve come together.
We've raised an amazing amount of money to help our fire fighters, the people directly affected by the bushfires and our beautiful wildlife.
I’ve watched the news every day, like we all have, deeply saddened by the footage and personal stories.
There was one particular news story that resonated with me.
I hope this blog can reach some of you that are having trouble accessing health services.
The news story featured a resident of a Victorian bushfire torn community.
He was lucky enough to still have his house standing. However, the fire came so scarily close that his neighbor's house had sadly burnt to the ground.
With bushfires not under control, it was still unsafe for him to return to his home. So he and his family, along with the rest of his community, were staying in temporary accommodation.
His family had gathered what they could, and had loaded it into their car, in the short timeframe they had to evacuate.
You can imagine how little that would be.
By the time he was interviewed for this news story he was exhausted, fearful, sad and ,quite frankly, he looked lost.
I felt a need to reach out when his big concern was for his children who had seen too much.
He was saying how they may need counselling in the future.
With all the typical things I imagined he’d be concerned about, this one really made me think.
What about all of the displaced people who need various health services NOW? How do they access them during a bushfire?
One solution to this problem is telehealth - a means of providing health care that is 100% online.
Telehealth can give you and your family access to quality health care from anywhere in the world, with only an internet connection required.
Seeking health advice through this medium means you can get treatment quickly, even when your local services may be closed.
Telehealth also means you can get continuing care from the same health professional even if you are moving from temporary accommodation back safely home.
Telehealth isn’t new.
It’s been around for 40 years, according to the head of the American Telemedicine Association.
This method of health care was used originally for the military.
It is also used by medical professionals with complex patients who require opinions by specialists.
With improvements in technology, telehealth has grown rapidly in the last 10 years.
The health specialties, such as physiotherapy, that provide telehealth, have refined and improved the way they provide their services.
Examples of Telehealth Services in Australia
Karen Finnin, director of Online.Physio, has written a fantastic blog that explains the process for an online physiotherapy consult. Click here to read.
From all of us here at Online.Physio, to our fellow Australians affected by the bushfires, we are thinking of you and helping in any way we can.