Video link for coastal patients

Great Ocean Road Health acting chief Carissa Brock, acute nurse unit manager Jason Phieler, Western Victoria Primary Health Network chief Leanne Beagley and project co-ordinator Hilary Tigani test an after-hours telehealth video service with Samantha Partridge on-screen.

Lorne and Apollo Bay residents will now have access to specialist emergency doctors after hours, thanks to a new video link.

The new service will reduce after-hours burden on GPs after Western Victoria Primary Health Network and My Emergency Dr launched the telehealth pilot at Great Ocean Road Health’s urgent care centres at Lorne and Apollo Bay.

Urgent care centre medical staff can use the MED app in the after-hours period on a smart phone or tablet, giving them immediate access to emergency specialists in Australia who can remotely access, diagnose and arrange treatment for patients.

Great Ocean Road Health acting chief Carissa Brock said the service complemented the urgent care and gave GPs relief with alternative solutions.

“It shows the change in being able to use technology to deliver the service as opposed to having to be onsite.

We’ve had geographical issues being on the coast, and this provides an alternative to having recruitment issues,” she said.

“Historically our general practitioners have carried the bulk of the on-call support to the community during the evenings and weekends as well as having a full patient load during the day.

“This has diminished their work-life balance and their ability to be able to continue in a rural GP role,” she said.

Western Victoria PHN chief Dr Leanne Beagley said the My Emergency Dr provided the telehealth service across Victoria, benefiting rural health services.

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