Telehealth welcomed for heart disease patients during COVID-19 crisis

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Telehealth
The Heart Foundation today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a $669 million telehealth package to allow GPs and specialists to consult remotely with patients during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We now know that the most serious cases of COVID-19 – and sadly, most of the deaths – are due to complications in patients who have pre-existing health conditions, including heart disease,” said the Group CEO of the Heart Foundation, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

“Internationally, there is also evidence suggesting that people with heart conditions are now waiting too long before seeking medical attention for symptoms that might be due to a heart attack. We are receiving Australian feedback that this might be happening here too.

“Telehealth consultations will allow patients to speak to their GPs or their cardiologists quickly and safely, both about concerns relating directly to their heart health, and about concerns that they might have contracted COVID-19.

“The Heart Foundation applauds the Federal Government’s timely action on this urgent issue.

“Not only will it benefit individual patients, but it will reduce stress on the overall health system by preventing an unnecessary extra burden on our doctors and hospitals for people managing existing diagnoses of heart disease, potentially preventing acute relapses in their condition that might end in hospitalisation or death.

“It will also protect our valuable health professionals, reducing their potential exposure to the virus – again reducing pressure on the health system overall during this time of crisis.”