The virtual journey: From the coast to the outback – working towards improving quality of life and health outcomes for outpatients experiencing persistent pain

Heather Scriven1, Darren Doherty2

1South West Hospital & Health Service, St George Hospital, St George Community & Allied Health Building –. P.O Box 602 St. George, QLD, 4487.(Work email) and (home email)
2Gold Coast Hospital & Health Service. Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Center. 2 Investigator Drive, Robina, QLD 4226.

Two Allied Health Professionals, 571 kilometres apart, united in their determination to conquer geographical distance and challenges for rural patients to access specialist persistent pain management services. The use of tele-health technology as a form of communication to present a pain management program is a new but expanding field. Innovation and partnership has resulted in developing a model of service that meets the needs of rural patients with persistent pain in South West Queensland. The Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Management Centre (IPPC) – Gold Coast and St George Community & Allied Health -South West Hospital and Health Services; developed a partnership in providing such a service. Manage Your Pain – South West (Telehealth) Group is an out-patient education and virtual support group for patients in South West Queensland. Patients from multiple sites across the SWHHS district have simultaneous access to allied health specialists in persistent pain management from the IPPC via Telehealth, whilst still being provided with continuity of care through facilitation of the program by local allied health professionals.

For future sustainability, research into the effectiveness is required. Research funding has been approved and ethical clearance obtained to commence research in 2016 – 2018. This presentation is the fore-runner to the outcome of the pending research; The presentation will provide a snapshot of the experiences of two Allied Health professionals in developing the partnership between rural and tertiary services; and using telehealth to deliver a persistent pain management program to a virtual group within a rural context.


Heather Scriven is a Snr Social Worker at St George Community & Allied Health Unit – South West Hospital & Health Service: 2007 – present day. Heather has worked in VIctoria and rural Queensland. She is a novice researcher (Health Practitioner Research Scheme Grant 2016-17).

Daren Doherty is a Snr Physiotherapist at Interdisciplinary Persistent Pain Centre. – Gold Coast Hospital : 2011 – present day. Darren has  Masters in Physiotherapy Studies. Conference presentations include: Abstracts: Australian Physiotherapy Association  2011 and Poster presentations at Australian Pain Society Conference 2012, 2015 and 2016. Darren worked Physiotherapist both in Australia and overseas.

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