Janet Reid 1, Kim Butler 1
1 Warwick Hospital, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, Warwick, QLD, Australia
Warwick is a rural town that has increased slowly in population over the last 10 years. The medical services available within the town have not grown in correlation to the increase. The need for residents to travel for specialist services has been reflected in the high use of Patient Travel Subsidy scheme from the local Queensland Health Hospital. With this in mind, the Community Health nurses committed to increasing the use of telehealth for the patients.
Since 2009 there had been limited use of this method of consultation, mainly used for preoperative clients review for booked surgery going to be performed Toowoomba. The Community Health nurses felt that there could be many other specialities that would benefit the client with telehealth use. They felt this would also lead to decreased patient travel subsidy costs, higher consumer satisfaction and greater efficiency of resource use. By accepting each discipline that offered telehealth (we now have over 20 specialities performing telehealth consultations) the Community Health nurses now have increased the use from one or two a month to 10 appointments per week.
The next step they are keen to explore is care of chronic disease with the view of keeping people well and in their own homes longer. The nurses plan to work in collaboration with the GPs and specialists to utilize telehealth for ongoing consultations for the clients. The nurses will partner with other service providers, including the GP to plan the care.