Defining remote medical practice

Janie D. Smith*, Stephen A. Margolis, Jeff Ayton, Victoria Ross, Elizabeth Chalmers, Patrick Giddings, Louise Baker, Martin Kelly, Catherine Love

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


More than three-quarters of Australia is classified as geographically remote. Remote areas are characterised by geographic isolation, cultural diversity, socioeconomic inequality, resource inequity, Indigenous health inequality, and a full range of extreme climatic conditions.

Although several descriptive definitions have been developed for "remote health" and "remote practice", definitions of "remote medical practice" or "remote medicine" have not been previously published.

In 2007, a working group of doctors and academics with experience in remote medicine was formed to develop the first advanced specialised remote medicine curriculum for remote doctors undertaking training with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. The first step was to define remote medical practice.

Remote medical practice has eight key features: employment rather than private practice, isolation, use of telehealth, increased clinical acumen, extended practice, cross-cultural setting, multidisciplinary practice, and an emphasis on public health and personal security.

From these eight features, we developed the first working definition of remote medical practice in the Australian context.

Our definition will assist policymakers, medical colleges, standard setters, and educators to develop programs and resources for the future remote medical workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-+
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


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