8 August 2015
Some of the more challenging aspects of delivering rural and
remote health care may be disappearing, as evidence continues to
grow of the benefits that technological advancements are providing
to isolated communities.
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Annual
Scientific Meeting in Darwin today learned of the substantial cost
savings and increased patient satisfaction that has occurred in the
North West Hospital and Health Service, since they introduced
telehealth facilities in 2011.
Dr John North, a RACS Clinical Director presented at the meeting
with senior radiographer Danielle Jones, and said the introduction
of telehealth facilities had been a game changer for the Fracture
Clinic patients in the North West region of Queensland.
"Previously patients in this clinic would have had to travel to
other major regional centres or capital cities to access this type
of care," Dr North said.
"Now smaller hospitals and outlying communities in the region
are easily accessed from the capital city hospital during this
clinic, simply with the press of a button."
"Cost savings have been calculated and published and have
demonstrated savings for the hospital and health service of more
than $1000 for adults and more than $2000 for children per case."
Dr North said.
According to Dr North telehealth has received overwhelming
support from the community, and he hopes this example will act as a
guide for future governments and policy-makers.
"Care delivery to patients with fractures of all ages has been
very well received. Hospital staff, patients and particularly
parents of children with fractures have been very supportive and
thankful for a consultant driven service to the region."
"We are all aware of the challenges facing our health system at
the moment, so any example of innovation that substantially
increases quality is a real positive for rural and remote
communities," Dr North said.
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