Making telemedicine work for you

Access to the right health care in the country is difficult, particularly when you need to see a specialist. At Cobram District Health we are using telemedicine to help create greater access to the care you need.

Mary Stephens, a patient of Dr James, is a great example. She sees three different specialists. Here she is pictured consulting with her Haematologist Mr Bazargan in East Melbourne, from the comfort of the medical clinic at Cobram District Health. Not only does telemedicine save her a 7hr round trip of over 500km, but it means that her GP, Dr James, is sitting in on the appointment too. This saves on letters back and forth between GP’s and specialists and makes for better care and communication all round.

Other specialists, such as Dr Dutta our visiting psychiatrist, have been enthusiastic users of telemedicine in order to follow up their patients. Our Practice Nurses also find it useful, when they need advice from a specialist.
Another place that telemedicine plays a valuable role is in Urgent Care. This year our GP’s and other clinical staff trained with Adult Retrieval Victoria in the use of telemedicine in the urgent scenarios that sometimes present at the hospital.

This has been a useful tool when we have had critically unwell patients in our Urgent Care centre that have required specialist care. We have processes in place to identify if a patient’s health is deteriorating and may require transfer to specialist health care in either a larger regional or metro hospital.

While waiting for an appropriate ambulance transfer, the medical and nursing staff are able to access advice from specialists through telemedicine, allowing the specialist to see the patient and provide on the spot advice and support to our staff.

This is just another way that Cobram District Health is striving to move with the future.