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25.06.2018 10:05 Age: 90 days

Telehealth services to increase at Karratha Health Campus


Telehealth-user Tania Veder, of Karratha, with one of the new videoconference units at Karratha Health Campus.

Meeting the challenges of distance and diversity is the WA Country Health Service’s core business when providing patient care across WA.

Technology can help bridge the distance and ensure we provide the best care possible to our country patients.

Regional Telehealth Manager Nardia Neale said she expected more local people would have the opportunity for outpatient appointments with their specialists closer to home using telehealth technology once the new health campus opened.

Telehealth uses high definition video equipment to link patients in regional WA with health specialists in Perth or larger regional centres for face-to-face appointments.

In most cases, appointments via telehealth are just like in-person appointments, but save the patient time, money and the inconvenience of having to travel for a short appointment. 

“Anyone can ask their specialist if they are able to have their outpatient appointments via telehealth,” said Nardia.

“The growth of telehealth is broadening the scope of healthcare services available locally.

“Around 35 patients a month are being saved the time and inconvenience of travelling to a larger centre for health services thanks to the steadily expanding use of telehealth in Karratha.”

More than 480 patients attended telehealth appointments at Nickol Bay Hospital in the 12 months from May 2017 to April 2018.

One such patient is Tania Veder, a Karratha resident who is using telehealth at Nickol Bay to have consultations with her Plastics surgeon in Perth following removal of a melanoma.

“I also broke my ankle a couple of years ago and it was very handy to be able to stay locally and use telehealth for my appointments.”

Nardia said the growth in local use of telehealth services would likely continue as the new health campus would have six additional units taking the total to 22.

“We expect the additional telehealth equipment in the new building will enable many more local people to ‘meet’ with their specialists from here, without having to travel to Hedland or Perth – saving them from travel-associated expense and stress,” she said.

Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) facilities, currently available at Nickol Bay Hospital, will also transfer to the new Karratha Health Campus when it opens.

The ETS is addressing issues of access by making emergency doctors available via high definition videoconferencing to support regional clinicians with very acute emergency patients.

The ETS provides local doctors and nurses with back-up from to specialist emergency doctors. This extra support is greatly valued by local GPs and nursing staff based in regional towns such as Karratha.

The new $207.15 million Karratha Health Campus will bring together a range of services in one convenient location when it opens its doors later this year.

In addition to outstanding emergency and hospital care, the new Karratha Health Campus will provide a comprehensive 'one-stop shop' for the delivery of integrated health services including physiotherapy, speech therapy, counselling, community health nursing and community mental health.

Media enquiries: WACHS Communications - wachs.comms@health.wa.gov.au


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