What is telehealth?

Telehealth refers to the delivery of remote healthcare using telecommunication technology to transmit audio, image, and/or data between a patient and a healthcare provider (such as a general practitioner or a specialist). [1] Many healthcare providers offer these consultations when a physical examination is not needed. [2] The use of telehealth has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic and is frequently used in residential aged care to allow residents to maintain a relationship with their usual GP who is aware of their medical history, medications, goals of care, and advance care directives. [3]

How is telehealth used in aged care?

In aged care, telehealth can be used to support remote medical consultations with healthcare professionals, provide ongoing remote monitoring with the support of wearable technology, and support mental health and medication management. [4] Telehealth should be used to support and complement face-to-face consultations. However, aged care telehealth technologies should not be used to save costs or purely for convenience as the long-term safety of older adults may be compromised. [5] It should be considered that not all older people will have the sufficient skills to access and use the technology and may need support for telehealth to be successful.

How can telehealth benefit the aged care sector?

Telehealth can improve the access older people have to healthcare by allowing them to access speciality appointments without leaving their usual place of residence. Telehealth technology can reduce travel time for older adults living in the community, and during the COVID-19 pandemic telehealth was used to keep older adults safe and avoid exposure to the virus. [6] The integration of telehealth technologies can reduce healthcare costs by reducing travel costs, appointment frequency, and potentially preventing inappropriate hospital admissions. Telehealth services can prompt increased communication between healthcare providers, aged care workers, older people, and their families, and improve healthcare outcomes for older adults with chronic conditions. [7]

Examples of telehealth in aged care

Technologies that support telehealth include:

  • ProEX: The ProEx desktop and mobile device support secure video calls and with multiple users in telehealth video consultations worldwide.
  • Skype: A free platform that allows individuals to make phone calls, host or join video conferences, and send and receive instant messages in one-on-one or group chats. 
  • Zoom: A free platform that connects people, engages new audiences, and can be used to support telehealth. 

Connect to PubMed evidence

This PubMed topic search is focused on research conducted in aged care settings (i.e., home care and residential aged care). You can choose to view all citations or free full-text articles.

  1. Zamir S, Hennessy CH, Taylor AH, Jones RB. Video-calls to reduce loneliness and social isolation within care environments for older people: An implementation study using collaborative action research. BMC Geriatr. 2018;18(1):1-1.
  2. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. On-demand telehealth services: Position statement [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 Feb 21]. Available from:
  3. The Australian Digital Health Agency. Telehealth [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Feb 21]. Available from:
  4. North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network. Using telehealth in residential aged care facilities. 2020. In: Advice for RACFs Telehealth [Internet]. Parkville, VIC: NWMPHN. Available from:
  5. Williams KN, Shaw CA, Perkhounkova Y, Hein M, Coleman CK. Satisfaction, utilization, and feasibility of a telehealth intervention for in-home dementia care support: A mixed methods study. Dementia (London). 2021;20(5):1565-1585.
  6. Australian Medical Association. Innovation in aged care 2019 position statement. 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 24]. Available from:
  7. Dai Z, Sezgin G, Li J, Franco GS, McGuire P, Datta S, et al. Telehealth utilisation in residential aged care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic: A retrospective cohort study in Australian general practice. J Telemed Telecare. 2022:1357633X221094406-221357633X221094406.