Vonage, a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation, has enabled aged care and disability support provider Feros Care to provide video telehealth solutions to its clients powered by Vonage.
The Vonage Video API, embedded within Feros Care’s Virtual Social Centre, enables the non-profit organisation to conduct real-time live-streamed events for more than 600 of its members across Australia. Running seven days a week, these events cover a wide range of activities beyond healthcare, from exercise classes and talks on healthy living, to games, entertainment and virtual social gatherings and can be experienced on any device.
“Many of our clients either live in remote areas or are not able to interact socially with others for various reasons. The Virtual Social Centre is an inclusive platform that allows our clients to socialise, learn new skills or just catch up with others,” said Ian Bonner, Senior IT Project Manager at Feros Care. “The Vonage Video API has enabled us to provide a secure and scalable platform that delivers reliable audio/video quality for our clients. The technology enabled easy integration within our platform and supports a wide range of mobile operating systems and browsers. With Vonage, we are looking to scale our activities to 2,000 sessions per month.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telehealth in Australia. According to the Department of Health, healthcare providers delivered 28 million COVID-19 telehealth services to over 10 million patients between March and the end of August – over 118 times as many consultations as were delivered in the whole of 2018 to 2019.
Telehealth is increasingly becoming a critical tool, particularly in aged care, a vital industry with Australia’s rapidly ageing population. In 2017, approximately 3.8 million people – 15% of the country’s population - were aged 65 and over. By 2031, 19% of Australia's population is expected to be over 65. According to researchers, Australia is unprepared to meet the demand of its ageing population, particularly in regard to healthcare and community services. Therefore, telehealth services - offering elderly and less-mobile patients a high standard of care at home - will continue to rise as the population ages. In addition, loneliness is a significant issue in the older generation which increases the risk of premature death by 26%.
“Telehealth has also become an important channel for our clients, particularly for seniors who are especially vulnerable to health risks like COVID-19 and who may be reluctant to venture out,” adds Ian. “This valuable resource means our clients can continue to have access to healthcare providers and we can break down their loneliness through fun activities, new skills and by staying connected with like-minded individuals from the comfort of their homes.”
"It's vital for healthcare and social service providers to be able to deliver a continuous, effective service during the pandemic, and adopting telehealth services means that those forced to self-isolate can get help from practitioners and caregivers, without the need to travel - an important step to protecting vulnerable communities and healthcare professionals,” comments Sunny Rao, Vonage Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Asia Pacific region.
“As a leader in video solutions, Vonage powers telehealth solutions for many healthcare providers and social service organisations worldwide, like Feros Care.”