Recruiting, retaining and supporting General Practitioners (GPs), Nurses and Allied Health Professionals in rural New South Wales, Australia

Telehealth

The NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) has been actively involved in Telehealth since July 2010, with research and testing activities undertaken for six months prior to that time. Since July 2010 RDN has coordinated the NSW RDN Medical Specialists Outreach Assistance Program (MSOAP) Telehealth Trial, a trial endorsed by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The trial allowed RDN to link specialists with patients and health professionals in Outreach locations via existing (largely) Local Health District infrastructure, with a growing number of Telehealth consultations taking place via modern desktop video conferencing software. Participating specialties have included Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Development Paediatrics, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Palliative Care, and soon to be Endocrinology and Cardiology.

Participants in the Trial including the specialist, patient, and health professional assisting the patient at the Outreach location have all been required to provide evaluations after each Telehealth consultation. Feedback from these participants has allowed RDN to evaluate the suitability and acceptability of video conferencing as a tool to overcome some of the barriers that many patients in rural and remote areas face when trying to access Specialist medical services. To date there have been 50 patient Telehealth consultations conducted during the trial.

The purpose of the information published on this website is to provide some useful and practical information based on RDN experiences since becoming involved in Telehealth. RDN is not claiming to be expert in the Telehealth field, however RDN considers that the knowledge and experience developed over the last 18 months may be beneficial to individuals or organisations interested in starting out in Telehealth, or individuals and organisations who may be already involved in providing Telehealth consultations and seeking assistance in improving their Telehealth service.

Useful Resources (PDF)

NSW RDN Guide to Establishing Telehealth Services

NSW RDN's 10 Top Practical Tips for Telehealth

NSW RDN Technical Information on Telehealth

NSW RDN Telehealth Software Evaluation

Telehealth - benefiting country and Indigenous patients - RDN article in RACGP News, 8/2012
 

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