Wimmera oncology patients were able to link from Horsham via telehealth to Professor George Kannourakis’s rooms at Ballarat Oncology on Wednesday, November 25.
Twenty-one patients were able to see both Professor Kannourakis and Wimmera Health Care Group’s oncology nurse practitioner Carmel O’Kane with the consultations set up at Ms O’Kane’s consulting room at Wimmera Health Care Group.
Patients were linked via telehealth to Professor Kannourakis in his Ballarat rooms through Ms O’Kane’s computer on her desk. The link was established using HealthDirect and Donna Bridge, Wimmera Southern-Mallee Health Alliance project officer, has been working with the Western Victoria Primary Health Network to see if this was a viable way of linking to specialists outside of Horsham.
Professor Kannourakis was very happy with the quality and ease of using this way of consulting with patients in Horsham. All that is required is either a laptop or desktop computer that has a camera and speakers, an internet connection and also to have Google Chrome installed.
There is no cost for accessing the HealthDirect videoconferencing in this way and the sound and quality are very high with no delay. Feedback from patients was also extremely positive and all were happy with this type of consultation.
Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Chris Scott said Carmel O’Kane has been a champion in supporting telehealth for patients in the Wimmera and feedback from both her and Professor Kannourakis is that they will continue to use this technology – saving travel, time and money whilst providing quality healthcare.
“This is a great example of the benefits of new technologies and digital electronic medical rollout that will further improve access and information to specialist and general medical care in our region,” Mr Scott said.
The same technology has been used to link Dr Pinky Baghi, Oncologist from the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, Carmel O’Kane, Jennifer Noonan, Palliative Care Nurse at Wimmera Health Care Group to West Wimmera Health Service Nurse Unit Manger Trish Heinrich and a cancer patient’s family on 8 December. They were able to discuss care and support without any party being required to travel.
*This work has been supported by the Wimmera Southern-Mallee Health Alliance which is made up of the five health services of the Wimmera: Rural Northwest Health, West Wimmera Health Service, Dunmunkle Health Services, Edenhope & District Memorial Hospital and Wimmera Health Care Group.