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More Tasmanians will be able to access their health appointments locally with the rollout of video-enabled Computers on Wheels (CoWs).

Fifteen rural and remote communities across Tasmania will have access to this initiative of the Telehealth Expansion Project starting today at the Deloraine and Smithton district hospitals.

This is part of the Hodgman Liberal Government’s commitment to providing the right clinical care in the right place at the right time.

Telehealth enables patients to take less time off work or caring responsibilities, less travel and accommodation costs, and less time spent travelling.

In just two telehealth appointments, a recent patient from Smithton avoided more than 1600 kilometres and 20 hours travel time to get to their health professional in Hobart.

Another Launceston patient avoided 1200 kilometres and 15 hours travel time over three appointments.

CoWs will also be delivered this week to Beaconsfield and Georgetown on Thursday and Scottsdale and St Mary’s on Friday.

More will be rolled out to rural and remote communities over the coming months.

The CoWs are part of a suite of options available to Tasmanians who would otherwise have to travel for their appointments.

Video conferencing facilities are already available at many Tasmanian Health Service locations statewide, including outpatient clinics.

Patients are also able to use telehealth in their own home using a computer, tablet or smartphone that has a camera, microphone and speaker.

Patients who are required to access health services outside of their geographical area can ask their doctors if their condition is clinically appropriate for telehealth.

The Telehealth Expansion project is an initiative of the Delivering Safe and Sustainable Clinical Services White Paper. It was initiated to improve patient access to health services and reduce costs of transport.

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