clinical prizeAn innovative approach using telehealth to improve access for rural people to cardiac rehabilitation programs has won a national award.

The Wimmera Cardiac Rehab Telehealth Hub and Spoke Model won the the Australian Cardiac Health & Rehabilitation Association’s clinical prize at the 26th Annual Scientific Meeting in Adelaide this month.

The program is a partnership between lead agency Wimmera Health Care Group, Rural Northwest Health, West Wimmera Health Service and Wimmera Primary Care Partnership.

The award was presented to Wimmera Health Care Group dietitian Pam Marshman and cardiac nurse Jo Carroll, who showcased the work on behalf of dedicated teams from the partner agencies.

“It was very exciting to win the National Clinical Prize,” Mrs Marshman said.

“The program has been very successful and we are proud of how it allows people to access rehabilitation programs without having to travel significantly.”

Mrs Marshman said the model uses telehealth to link staff and clients at Rural Northwest Health Warracknabeal and West Wimmera Health Service Nhill, the spokes, to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Education Sessions at Wimmera Health Care Group in Horsham, the hub. 

“Clients attend at their local health service to undertake the physical activity sessions of cardiac rehabilitation close to home. They then all link up together via telehealth to participate in the group education sessions at Horsham,” she said.

“The work has seen an increased uptake of cardiac rehabilitation in the Wimmera and patients are saving time and money with reduced travel. Technology isn’t a barrier to access and health services can  work together to deliver a coordinated best practice program.”

The Annual Scientific Meeting took place in Adelaide in the first week of August, and attracted a wide range of health professionals including researchers and clinicians from around the world. It is one of the major national forums for the exchange of ideas and discussion of clinical and research issues relating to cardiac rehabilitation and heart disease prevention.

The program is an initiative of the Wimmera Southern-Mallee Health Alliance to improve access to healthcare in the region and includes West Wimmera Health Service, Rural Northwest Health, Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital and Wimmera Health Care Group.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mark Knights Acting Chief Executive Ph: 5381 9293 Amelia Crafter Public Relations Co-ordinator Ph: 5381 9309