09:40am Wednesday 19 February 2020

UQ researchers to investigate virtual health service needs

Thanks to $220,000 in funding from coal seam gas industry leader QGC, UQ researchers are about to launch a scoping study in Dalby, Chinchilla and Miles.

QGC Vice President Corporate, Brett Smith, said the company was excited about partnering with UQ.

“QGC is committed to supporting the development of sustainable rural health services and the Health e-REGIONS project will provide an important and timely contribution for these communities,” he said.

Centre for Online Health researchers will investigate opportunities for telemedicine services which could have a key role in “delivering” specialists and other health professionals to regional and rural areas.

A variety of online communication techniques, such as videoconferencing and web-based consultations can potentially save patients and families the need for travel to city hospitals for specialist health care.

Chief Investigator Associate Professor Anthony Smith said researchers wanted to consult with as many local people as possible.

“We have already received strong support from Queensland Health and local health professionals during the early stages of the project,” he said.

“First, we will explore the specific health needs and services currently available in these communities – irrespective of age – and across the whole community, including public health services, private organisations, schools and community health groups.

“Our research in Dalby, Chinchilla and Miles will enable the development of a range of health service delivery models which incorporate telemedicine, that respond to local community needs.

“The funding from QGC means we have the opportunity to investigate the best way for telemedicine to support regional communities and we anticipate these models will be applicable to other rural and remote regions throughout Australia.”

About the Centre for Online Health

The Centre for Online Health is an international leader in telemedicine research. It trials the most effective telemedicine models across a range of medical specialities and operates one of the largest telepaediatric services in the world, linking regional doctors and patients with Brisbane specialists. The goal of the research is to develop best practice models in online health care that are applicable to Australia and other countries. More information is available online.

Media: Dr Jasmine Croll on 0458 625428.

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