A new CRCNA project hopes to transform telehealth care service delivery to some of the North’s most remote communities.

Simbani Integrated Research will lead a consortium of participants in delivering the $1.6 million Developing telehealth systems project.

Participants include representatives from telecommunications and ICT companies, Charles Darwin University, the Northern Territory-based Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation and the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service in Western Australia.

CRCNA CEO Jed Matz said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the crucial role telehealth plays in connecting clinical and allied health professionals with their patients.

“The benefits of telehealth are proven, but there remain many barriers to uptake and investment. These include poor internet connectivity, lack of knowledge from consumers and clinicians, high delivery costs and issues with software/hardware not being fit-for-purpose.

“This project will strategically tackle these issues to deliver a straightforward platform which meets the needs of the clinicians, health care workers and patients,” he said.

Marianne St Clair from Simbani Integrated Research said the company’s previous work with remote Aboriginal communities has shown improving telehealth is not always about reinventing the wheel.

“Getting better connectivity into these areas is, of course key, but so is getting people to use the systems once they are in place.

“Our role is providing a model which enables service providers to work with communities to develop a solution which is easy to use, inexpensive, reliable and has appropriate support systems for when things go wrong.”

“Our goal is to deliver a system which is easy enough to be used by community members in clinics without the need for a clinician to be there,” she said.

A high-level reference committee with representatives from the Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian health departments, and various Northern Australian-based health agencies and networks will support the research team along with a technical advisory team with representatives from NBN Co, SkyMesh, VisionFlex, eMerge ITS, Synapse Medical and other software vendors as required.

For more information

Marianne St Clair, Simbani 0427 555 484