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Innovative, high-tech, yet brilliantly simple, Telehealth has the potential to transform Australian health services. But overcoming resistance and facilitating uptake from patients and health professionals are major challenges requiring business and management expertise. Telehealth is digital-age health care for today’s connected world, embracing all forms of modern media, in particular teleconferencing. However, the uptake of Telehealth by specialists, GPs and patients has been slow, so a team from UQ Business School is addressing the subject.

According to management specialist Dr Nicole Gillespie, change can often be difficult to accept. “Telehealth is a disruptive technology. Its successful implementation requires careful attention to management processes, because it involves significant change for clinicians, patients, and healthcare organisations. Our team is researching the facilitators and barriers to uptake, how best to build trust and successfully implement Telehealth across a variety of clinical settings. We’re applying business thinking to a medical problem and that’s a great challenge to undertake,” she said.

The project is being conducted within The University of Queensland’s Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Telehealth, which has been awarded $2.5 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council. Dr Gillespie is a Chief Investigator at the Centre.

Taking the project forward, Dr Gillespie and her team will be working alongside an interdisciplinary team of UQ experts from the Centre for Online Health, the Telerehabilitation Research Unit, the Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine, the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy, as well as clinicians from the Inala Community Health Service.

Project members

Chief investigators

Professor Len Gray, The University of Queensland
Professor Deborah Theodoros, The University of Queensland
Associate Professor Anthony Smith, The University of Queensland
Associate Professor Trevor Russell, The University of Queensland
Professor H. Peter Soyer, The University of Queensland
Associate Professor Noel Hayman, Inala Indigenous Health Service
Associate Professor Jennifer Whitty, The University of Queensland 
Doctor Nicole Gillespie, The University of Queensland

Associate investigators

Doctor Nigel Armfield, The University of Queensland
Professor Elizabeth Beattie, Queensland University of Technology
Professor Peter Brooks, The University of Melbourne
Doctor Liam Caffery, The University of Queensland
Professor Colin Carati, Flinders University
Doctor Sisira Edirippulige, The University of Queensland
Professor Anthony Maeder, University of Western Sydney
Doctor Melinda Martin-Khan, The University of Queensland 
Professor Paul Scuffham, Griffith University