RCH Child Health Poll: teleheath for kids

Telehealth for kids: RCH Child Health Poll on the experiences of Australian parents

The latest Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) National Child Health Poll, made possible thanks to your support, 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 out at the shops.

Most parents (85 per cent) understand the importance of having telehealth appointments in a quiet and private place, however one in four (26 per cent) felt it was okay to have the appointment while at the shops or driving a car (24 per cent).

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 per cent) 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 accessed health care via telehealth in the past 12 months, 79 per cent of parents reported quality of care as a reason they may not use telehealth.

“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.

The RCH Child Health Poll have provided the following tips for parents:

  • Ensure your child is with you if they are required for the appointment
  • Make sure your device you are using for your appointment is fully charged
  • Ensure you have a good internet or Wi-Fi connection
  • Find a private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed
  • Have a notepad handy to write down information or questions you might have during the appointment
  • Avoid diverting your attention to other activities like driving or walking around the shops during your appointment
  • If you are using the computer, have your phone nearby as a back-up contact option for your health care provider