Introduction to the NACCHO Telehealth program from Dr Mark Wenitong


From Dr Mark Wenitong Acting CEO NACCHO

To all NACCHO members

This is to introduce Dr Suzanne Jenkins

The new manager of the NACCHO Telehealth Support project ( TH1):

As you may already be aware NACCHO is currently undertaking a Telehealth Support Project (TH1) supported by the Department of Health and Aging (DOHA).

Working with your state and Territory affiliate offices through an appointed Working Party, the project will undertake (over 12 months) to produce guidelines, an accredited online training module, and workshop training materials.

As well the project will provide financial and other support to the state and Territory affiliates to undertake training workshops for member services.

The state affiliates will contact you within the next few months to let you know when and where the workshops will be in your state/Territory.

Within the next 3-6 months NACCHO will have established a website and links to the guidelines, training modules and information regarding events in your state.

It will also provide links to a range of other resources including those  on the Australian college of Remote and Rural Medicine (ACCRM) website. ACCRM are collaborating with us on this project

NACCHO believes that Telehealth, once established, will provide great benefits to our services and clients and are pleased to be able to work with you to develop proficiency and capacity in this new area of health care delivery.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth enables consultations between health service providers and their patients to be delivered at a distance. A Telehealth consultation is a consultation which occurs through real time telecommunication systems such as videoconferencing, between a patient and specialist in another location.

This project will equip the health staff of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) with training and support to allow them to manage and implement Telehealth online video conferencing  in their services for their patients.

Once established Aboriginal people’s access to specialists through Telehealth facilitated patient consultations within across Australia will be dramatically improved.

The project operates as part of the Australian Government’s ‘Connecting Health Services with the Future: Modernising Medicare by Providing Rebates for Online Consultations’ initiative.

Telehealth  Objectives

 There are five main objectives of the program:

 Develop customised national telehealth guidelines/principles tailored to the ACCHS’s workforce;

 Develop an accredited National Training Module (online) for ACCHS staff;

 Develop a national ‘Online Telehealth Orientation Event Management Kit’ for ACCHSs/Affiliates iforthe conduct of State/Territory workshops (see below);

 Establish a Virtual Telehealth Community on the NACCHO Communication Network (NCN);

 Conduct State and Territory Telehealth Training workshops by funding and supporting NACCHO Affiliates. These will provide training and support to ACCHSs in:

  • the installation and usage of teleconferencing equipment;
  • undertaking telehealth consultations and claiming Medicare rebates;
  • implementation of the above NACCHO guidelines,
  • ways to engage existing specialists to offer telehealth services to their ACCHS;
  • enhancing access to other specialists providing telehealth services through a national database.

 The workshops will also assist in evaluation activities, including data collection for this project.

 For further information

Dr Suzanne Jenkins is the Telehealth Support Officer managing this project and would be please to hear from you if you have any queries. She will inform you when the resources become available

Her contact details are below.

Dr Suzanne Jenkins

Telehealth Support Officer

Bolands Centre, 14 Spence St. Cairns 4870 PO Box 5419, Cairns 4870

(07) 40807344 | 0429918934 |

Telehealth initiative that will help remote communities in the NT get better access to healthcare.

Healthier future for remote Northern Territory communities

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today launched a telehealth initiative that will help remote communities in the Northern Territory get better access to healthcare.

The Health eTowns TelehealthNT Network project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments and is part of a $20 million Digital Regions Initiative that will:

  • improve the delivery of health and education services to people in 47 remote towns in the Northern Territory;
  • provide telehealth services to emergency rooms and resuscitation areas in Northern Territory regional hospitals and 17 Territory Growth Towns; and
  • allow doctors based in Darwin to examine, talk to, and diagnose patients in remote areas through the use of high-definition Medicarts and room-based units.

“Telehealth has the potential to save lives. Through high-speed broadband, people in remote areas can get speedy healthcare and clinical attention when they need it. It also removes the burden of travel, helping patients stay in their communities and potentially recover faster”, Senator Conroy said

“Interactive online education and training programs have also been implemented to give students and trainees access to mainstream health education programs that are currently only available to students in larger cities.

“The Health eTowns initiative will help close the healthcare and education gap experienced by remote communities in the Northern Territory”, Senator Conroy said.

Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, said the investment in high-speed broadband will improve access to necessary health care for many remote and Aboriginal communities across the Territory.

“Thousands of people live in remote communities and through telehealth services, like Health eTowns, they will be able to access better care, specialists and more health information closer to home.

“This technology will be a great weight off the mind of many people across the Territory, who know that at times seeing the right doctor at the right time can be difficult. Telehealth means that a consultation, a check-up or out-patient follow up is only a video call away”, Mr Snowdon said.

Minister Vatskalis said the implementation of the Health eTowns project is boosting innovation in healthcare by enabling specialist services.

“I am pleased that since the project started  in 2010, the Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government have boosted their contributions so services can be expanded beyond the initial target of 17 Territory Growth Towns into a further 30 remote communities in the Northern Territory”, Minister Vatskalis said. 

This additional funding is also being used to develop a telehealth connection service. This will make it easier for the states and territories to work together on telehealth, helping them share relevant health information and improve health services.

The Australian Government is co-funding a further 13 projects and three NBN-enabled trials across Australia through the $60 million Digital Regions Initiative. Details can be found at:

Joint media release

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

The Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
Federal Member for Lingiari

The Hon Kon Vatskalis MLA
Minister for Health
Northern Territory Government

Date: 31 July 2012


Adam Sims (Senator Conroy)

0408 258 457

Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon)

0417 917 796

Maria Billias (Minister Vatskalis)

0411 119 746