Health Specialists As Close As the Computer

Photo: Mike Risk and Carolyn Millard
General
Wednesday, 2 August 2017
Mike Risk has a wealth of local knowledge, welcoming visitors to the Glenelg Shire while working at the Portland Tourist Centre.

But the idea of driving to Geelong for a short consultation with his anaesthetist in preparation for a joint replacement operation was a daunting prospect.

With road works, break times to stop and stretch, and finding parking, the round trip to Geelong was going to be a painful seven hours, for a half hour appointment, Mr Risk said.

Luckily, TeleHealth video conferencing has now become a very real option for people in the Glenelg Shire.

The staff at Portland District Health were able to make contact with my anaesthetist and arrange for me to attend a video appointment, Mr Risk said. I didn't have to travel with pain, the consultation was great, saved seven hours and I didn't have to fill up the fuel tank.

The Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging the use of new video conferencing software called HealthDirect Video Call, specifically developed for health video conferencing. It is secure, reliable and easy to use.

PDH staff such as clinical nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and exercise physiologists can be available to attend the appointment with the patient to assist with physical examinations and other tests.

While technology is no longer a barrier, PDH primary health manager Carolyn Millard said there are still a few barriers to the take up of TeleHealth.

Not all patients ask if they can attend their appointment via TeleHealth, she said. Medical staff arranging appointments don't always consider TeleHealth first and not all specialists have tested the new HealthDirect platform. Some initial specialist appointments need to be attended face-to-face but most follow-up appointments can utilise TeleHealth, especially when health clinicians are on-hand available to assist at PDH.

Mike Risk is testimony to the positive impact of TeleHealth. I can't thank the staff at PDH enough, he said. TeleHealth brings specialists to us; it really is a far better way to get access to specialist care.

TeleHealth video conferencing is now a very real option for people in the Glenelg Shire.

For more information, HealthDirect web site https://about.healthdirect.gov.au/video-call

Contact Person:

Carolyn Millard, Health Independence Program Manager

Portland District Health

Email: cmillard.pdh@swarh.vic.gov.au

Phone: 03 55210606


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