Title

Commonwealth funding for telehealth education at Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 8-1-2012

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place

Broome

Abstract

The University of Notre Dame Australia has received $224,000 in funding from the Federal Government to assist health professionals become more confident in delivering telehealth consultations to patients around the country.

Notre Dame received the funding as part of the Telehealth Support program through the Australian Government's Department of Health and Ageing. More than $15.7 million has been dedicated to fund telehealth projects in all Australian states and territories with a focus of educating and training health providers to deliver specialised care through the use of telecommunications.

Associate Dean of Rural, Remote and Indigenous Health at the School of Medicine in Fremantle, Professor Jennifer McConnell, said she was enthusiastic about the addition of telehealth to the growing Medicine curriculum at Notre Dame.

"We were one of only three universities in Australia to receive funding to develop key telehealth training programs for students and current medical professionals," Professor McConnell said.

"Telehealth is becoming an increasingly more effective way to deliver health care to some of the most remote and under-serviced parts of the country. But there have not been as many health professionals comfortable using the technology as first anticipated as there was limited training available for the use of telecommunications in the medical consultation."

Like many other forms of technology which have broken down distance barriers in communications and the receiving of information, telehealth is proving to do the same in the medical field.

The use of teleheath during emergency procedures in remote areas allows a doctor or nurse from a major metropolitan hospital to shadow a rural medical professional through a surgical procedure via videoconferencing technology.

Telehealth can also be used to transmit medical images for diagnosis (referred to as store-and-forward telehealth), manage and monitor patients with chronic diseases, and share medical data with professionals around the world.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Broome, Professor Lyn Henderson-Yates said the University was excited at receiving the funding to employ staff to develop learning packages in the field of telehealth. "This initiative is one outcome resulting from having our School of Medicine with a strong base on the Broome Campus," Professor Henderson-Yates said.

Funding received by the University will be partly used to develop an accredited telehealth training module as part of the Certificate Level III in Health Sciences at the Broome Campus.

The aim of the module will be to provide a skills-based training course targeting practice managers and administration staff working in medical practices to learn how to provide support to general practitioners through telehealth services.

Additional funding will be allocated to establishing a Graduate Certificate in Telehealth through Notre Dame's School of Medicine in Fremantle to provide continuing professional development (CPD) training activities that can be accessed by a range of health professionals.

Two new academic staff members, Taryn Charles and Nyssa Hadgraft, will oversee the writing and piloting of the teleheath programs on the Broome Campus.

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Ebbs: Tel (08) 9433 0610; Mob 0408 959 138 Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093