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Providing care closer to home using digital health tools

October 19, 2021

Goondir Aboriginal Medical Service currently cares for over 200 patients who are at risk of, or are currently managing chronic disease through their Virtual Health Monitoring Service.

The Service provides in home real-time monitoring of a patients’ vitals through a specially formatted tablet and Bluetooth peripheral devices to test and measure BP, BSL, H2O level and weight.

Goondir initially approached the idea to introduce the Virtual Health Service into its model of care in early 2016, but due to the current health environment, finding support for the new service proved difficult at the time. The impact of COVID-19 in 2020 forced the health sector to quickly adopt digital platforms and new ways of working such as telehealth video consultations to continue to see patients.

Goondir had to revise their businesses service model to comply with COVID-19 safety restrictions which involved extensive consultation with their patients and community to ensure that any update to their service model would be effective.

The Virtual Health model was revisited and Goondir partnered with Telstra Health to help roll out the service to its patients.

CEO of Goondir Aboriginal Medical Services, Floyd Leedie wanted to go further than a phone call to look after his patients.

“How can you provide good quality care over a telephone without any vitals to guide you?” Mr Leedie said.

“For those patients that participate, the virtual health monitoring service has become a valuable digital tool that monitors their vitals daily. If there is an abnormality in the patients’ vitals the virtual clinic manager is notified and immediately takes action to get in touch with the patient.”

This intervention/prevention model is being evaluated by UQCoH and the evaluation report is due to be released in November 2021. Further research is also being planned by Goondir and USQ to evolve the service from an intervention and prevention model into a predictive model. This will involve algorithms to recognise trends and trigger a health emergency in advance of it occurring.

“This will give us a real advantage of reducing any risk or major health emergencies for our patients.”

There is also further opportunity to expand this service or private practices with Indigenous clients who wish to partner with Goondir. Due to their software enabling them to manage up to 1,000 units.

More on the virtual health service can be found here