WIMMERA residents will have easier access to specialised health care with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria’s new cardiology telehealth service.
People will no longer have to travel long distances, with the service allowing for cardiology appointments with metropolitan-based specialists to be conducted via a video conference system.
Rural Northwest Health and Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital are working in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria.
Rural Northwest Health chief executive Catherine Morley said the telehealth system was a positive step in providing better healthcare to the community.
“Community members have to travel to Horsham, Ballarat and Melbourne to received specialised health care, which is an expensive option,” she said.
“This is our way to support our community and give that expert health care in a cost effective way.”
Ms Morley said Rural Northwest Health had worked with the Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria to ensure the quality of specialists offered through the telehealth system.
“We want to get specialists who are ready to listen and engage with the community members,” she said.
“The Royal Flying Doctors came up to talk to the community and it was clear that the people what someone who is willing to listen and answer questions.”
The system provides functionality with low bandwidth, support for rural health providers and has a high security to allow for document sharing between doctor and patient.
The service follows the delivered diabetes telehealth service in November 2013, which connected diabetes patients in rural communities with endocrinologists in Melbourne.
More than 1000 appointments between patients and specialists have since occurred.
Ms Morley said the diabetes telehealth service had been successful. She said Rural Northwest Health wanted the community to be empowered and make good choices with regards to their health and well-being.
Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria chief Scott Chapman said the service reflected the work his organisation aimed to achieve.
“It’s our aim, and has been since formation in 1928, that distance is no barrier for patients accessing essential health services,” he said.