Bupa launches 24/7 telehealth service
Bupa has implemented a 24-hour virtual doctor service in an attempt to help relieve the busy Australian healthcare system, with an emphasis on assisting international patients in the country.
The telehealth service, provided through Blua, connects Bupa health insurance customers with the telehealth service at any time of the day, rather than attending overstretched general practices or hospital emergency departments.
The service works to accommodate international students and visitors with health concerns that upon diagnosis may not have required in-person medical attention. This includes regional areas, where medical services face increasing demand.
“We know international students and visitors are more likely to attend hospital emergency departments for health issues that don’t require hospital care. This can be costly and increases pressure on emergency departments and local GPs which are already overcrowded,” said Blua’s Clinical Director Dr Simon Benson.
Customers may have access to telehealth for free depending on their cover, with the company claiming over 60% of eligible members have had concerns resolved over a single video call, and under 2% requiring hospital admission after an initial consult.
The service also allows for patients to consult with medical professionals in another language, with doctors able to speak English, Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil, Bahasa, Persian and Japanese.
Dr Benson said the service has recorded a 3000% growth in use over 10 months.
So far, those studying, working or visiting Victoria have been the largest users of Blua, followed by New South Wales and Queensland.
“Our international customers are increasingly using Blua to access medical care from the convenience of their own homes,” said Bupa Health Insurance International and Corporate Portfolio Director Simon Uzunovski.
The telehealth service is said to help meet the needs of the nation’s rising population, which Blua expects to grow by 1.7% in 2023–24. The majority of the expected increase has been attributed to international patients such as overseas students and temporary visa holders.
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