The CRE in Telehealth concluded in September 2019. Description of work below is not current.

The poor health of Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people has been reported for decades. Although indigenous infant mortality rates have been declining, life expectancy has not changed because of continued high adult mortality rates (due largely to high death rates from chronic diseases in middle age).

Chronic disease, with preventable cause, is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population with progressively younger age of onset. Indigenous communities are often disadvantaged due to lack of access to culturally appropriate medical service, in both metropolitan and rural communities. 

Visits to many rural communities are infrequent, sometimes irregular, expensive to undertake and often too short to allow proper follow-up of patients after surgery. New models of care need to be developed in collaboration in Indigenous communities to ensure a more consistent approach for routine community-based health services. Telehealth may assist in early detection of chronic disease and improved access to specialist treatment.