Creating a prosperous, sustainable and healthy Northern Australia

Development of innovative primary health service managed by Telehealth Technicians for very remote First Nations’ communities.

Development of innovative primary health service managed by Telehealth Technicians for very remote First Nations’  communities.
  • Reference # H.5.2223001
  • Timeframe 3.5 years
  • Project Status Current
  • Location Darwin, Galiwinku, Gawa, Nhulunbuy, Cairns, Newman
  • Total project value $3,289,702.00
  • Project manager Sarah Docherty
  • Research Programs 5. Northern health service delivery innovation
  • Health Service Delivery

Summary

Very remote First Nations’ homelands often do not have on-community health services. They are usually supported through hub-and-spoke models with outreach visits and service quality and frequency varies. Telehealth may be part of the solution to this long-term problem and provide continuity of care with more diverse healthcare services currently available through the existing model of care.

Provision of community Wi-Fi and establishing regular access to health services via telehealth using appropriately skilled and supported community members on-site may, in part, close the gap in service and improve health outcomes for smaller remote First Nations’ communities.

Through this project, it is proposed to train a number of community members in using Information and Communications Technology and smart diagnostic/monitoring tools to assist community members to access a range of health services via telehealth.  The development of this new role “Telehealth Technician” will facilitate communities moving from a very basic or negligible health service to a pro-active comprehensive primary care service.

The project includes an analysis of the current funding model, possible funding sources to provide the financial support for Telehealth Technicians as well as the human and technical requirements for implementation.

 

Expected outcomes

  • Development of an innovative model of health service delivery using telehealth to supplement services in very remote First Nations’ communities
  • Provision of training and support materials for Telehealth Technicians.
  • Develop a financial model using Medicare Billing and other public funding to enable this service sustainably for the longer term.
  • Provide access to a wider range of health services for very remote Aboriginal communities.
  • Assist communities to move from an emergency response service to a locally managed (within community) pro-active primary care service.