Safety and quality in virtual care
The Commission is undertaking research into safety and quality in virtual care (telehealth), in acute health and primary healthcare settings.
What is virtual care?
Virtual care can be defined as ‘Healthcare activity supported at a distance by information and communication technology service(s).’1
Many organisations use the term ‘telehealth’ to describe virtual care services.
Virtual care can be delivered by a range of modalities including:
- Remote patient monitoring
- Store and forward
- Website and mobile applications (apps).
Applying the Digital Mental Health Standards in virtual care
The Commission has developed the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health (NSQDMH) Standards to improve the quality of digital mental health service provision, and to protect service users and their support people from harm.
The NSQDMH Standards were launched in November 2020 with resources to support their implementation. A voluntary accreditation scheme subsequently commenced in November 2022. During consultation with state and territory health departments, all jurisdictions expressed an interest in a broader application of the NSQDMH Standards to include virtual care services (including telehealth).
Virtual Care Validation Study
The Commission is currently undertaking a pilot study of an adapted set of actions from the NSQDMH Standards to determine if they can be used to provide a consistent, comprehensive, and robust framework for safe and high-quality virtual care delivery. The pilot is an anticipated first step towards national safety and quality standards for the broad range of virtual care services across Australia.
For queries about the Commission’s work on safety and quality standards for virtual care, please contact the Safety and Quality Advice Centre.
- ISO 13131 - Health informatics - Telehealth services - Quality planning guidelines ISO [internet]. Available from: https://www.iso.org/standard/75962.html