Virtual care, also known as telehealth, safely connects patients with health professionals to deliver care when and where it is needed. It complements the face-to-face care that you are used to.

In NSW, virtual care can be delivered in different ways, including:
  • telephone – an audio connection between two or more people
  • video conference – video connection of two or more people allowing all participants to speak to each other, see each other and in some cases exchange data simultaneously
  • remote monitoring – using technology to collect and send medical data to an app, device or service 
  • store and forward – where a patient allows clinical information to be collected and sent electronically to another person or site for evaluation or management.

If virtual care is safe and suitable, your healthcare professional will explain your options. You will then have a choice about how you wish to receive care.

In some cases, virtual care may be the only option for safety and quality reasons.

Potential benefits of virtual care for patients, carers and health care professionals

NSW Health's priority is providing world class healthcare that is personalised, safe and of the highest quality. Virtual care helps us to do this.

Virtual care can help patients to receive more appropriate care in a timely fashion, and provides benefits for all patients, no matter where they live. It supports patients and families to:
  • receive care closer to home, their family and community
  • have increased convenience and choice
  • have reduced travel time and cost
  • have more equitable and timely access to services to improve continuity of care
  • have access to specialist services otherwise not available in their area.
  • have ability to connect with their loved ones through technology.

Healthcare professionals have been using technology to deliver care to patients for decades. Now, with advances in technology, the support for health professionals and benefits for patients and the health system are even greater.

Virtual care supports healthcare professionals by:
  • improving access to specialist services and support 
  • improving clinical networks and professional collaboration 
  • facilitating flexible service delivery models and multidisciplinary care.

Virtual care supports NSW Health's vision for a sustainable health system that delivers outcomes that matter to patients and the community, is personalised, invests in wellness and is digitally enabled.

Further information

Virtual Care Accelerator  

The Virtual Care Accelerator (VCA) was established through a partnership between eHealth NSW and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI). It was set up to accelerate and optimise the use of virtual care across NSW until 30 June 2021.

The VCA supports local health districts and specialty health networks to build on existing virtual care initiatives and implement new ones. These innovations will facilitate the long-term transformation of virtual care.

NSW Health Virtual Care Strategy

We are currently revising our Virtual Care Strategy. The strategy will build on the valuable work that has been occurring across the system for many years.

Read the current NSW Health Telehealth Framework and Implementation Strategy: 2016 – 2021.

Current as at: Friday 30 April 2021
Contact page owner: Strategic Reform and Planning