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On March 12, the World Health Organisation formally declared coronavirus a pandemic. Australian authorities are focussed on limiting the community spread to (1) enable the healthcare system to appropriately respond and (2) avoid widespread illness for as long as possible, until a vaccine is available. The development, testing, and production of a vaccine is likely to take some time, although clinical trials are set to commence shortly. There are also concerns that the spread of COVID-19 may coincide with the seasonal influenza outbreak, creating even greater risk for vulnerable populations e.g., older adults and people with existing medical conditions. This week the Australian government announced $100 million in funding for telehealth services as part of the $2.4 billion package to combat coronavirus.


At a time when you are inundated with demand and trying to understand the procedures for managing COVID-19, it is likely the prospect of telehealth is another thing on a very long to do list. Having managed services in the not-for-profit and government sectors for many years I understand the importance of finding the balance between responding quickly and adopting a planned and considered approach.