Goodwin Aged Care Services and Next Practice Deakin (ACT) have teamed up to make GP and medical examinations more accessible.
The program utilises innovative technology that allows GPs to conduct physical examinations virtually, expanding the concept of telehealth into tele-examination.
The technology, developed by TytoCare, provides aged care workers with a comprehensive suite of tools that allow easy examination of the ears, nose, lungs, heart, throat, skin, abdomen, and temperature, which is controlled and reviewed remotely by the GP in real-time.
Connecting to a smartphone or tablet, the clinician controls the device settings virtually, as well as providing directions to the carer or patient both verbally and visually, with picture instructions on the screen to help guide the user as to where to place the device.
Dr Paresh Dawda of Next Practice Deakin says this technology provides the opportunity for a consultation that’s as clinically sound and effective as face-to-face but without having to be in the same location.
“This is an excellent step forward in increasing accessibility and responsiveness of health services for Australian seniors,” says Dr Dawda. “Accessing primary health services is a real issue for seniors, especially for those who aren’t mobile and have difficulty leaving the house.”
“GP home visits or visits to residential care facilities are sometimes limited, partly due to the travel time, so providing care for those who most need GP consultations is a real challenge for the industry. TytoCare goes a long way to solving this issue.”
“I also believe it can provide a more positive experience for the patients by utilising the accessibility features of technology, for example, those who are hard of hearing can read the auto-captions on the screen,” says Dr Dawda.
“There are many other advantages to a system such as this, for example, a resident could have a daughter in Sydney or overseas who would now be able to attend an appointment whereas she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”
“I really do believe that enhanced virtual care is the next complementary step in health care with significant benefits for our senior population.”
The three-month pilot will engage with roughly one hundred Goodwin residents and clients across two cohorts throughout the ACT. One device will operate on-site in Goodwin’s residential care facility David Harper House, and another device will be used by Goodwin’s home care team, which will see the enhanced virtual care occur in people’s homes.
Tamra MacLeod, Goodwin Executive Manager Clinical and Health Services says Goodwin is very excited by this project, especially during this time of lockdown when minimising people’s movement is so important.
“Tele-examinations would greatly improve the residents’ safety. It means that people can get the medical advice they need in the safety of their home without having to be exposed to clinics.” Said Ms MacLeod.
“It also means our residents and clients can get consultations sooner without having to wait until a doctor comes to visit the home as it allows our carers to do the check-up themselves.”