Topics:  health, telehealth, toowoomba hospital

Service proves healthy option for patients

SOUTHERN Downs residents may not need to travel as far for medical treatment thanks to Toowoomba Hospital Telehealth Services.

Telehealth project officer Lois Cobon said the Toowoomba Hospital began telehealth about 10 years ago and the service has grown and improved over the past decade.

"Telehealth makes use of video-conferencing technology so that patients from around south-west Queensland can attend their local hospital and have a specialist appointment at Toowoomba Hospital via video-conference.

"We run a huge variety of telehealth clinics - from antenatal clinics to pacemaker sessions to wound management.

"Our patients come from all over the Darling Downs, South Burnett and south-west and even as far as Longreach and Yowah.

"The feedback from patients is really positive. They really appreciate not having to drive for hours to get to Toowoomba Hospital.

"They can be reassured if they have questions about their illness or disease by having one-on-one contact with their doctor".

Ms Cobon said patients could also be referred to other health services if needed and sometimes a clinical assessment would recommend the patient came to Toowoomba Hospital for a face-to-face appointment.

"An important advantage to telehealth for which we found out during the January 2013 floods was that our specialist doctors who fly out to various rural and remote health services who had their flights cancelled were still able to telehealth nearly all of their appointments providing a continuity of care that would be lost when appointments are cancelled or rescheduled.

"As well as better communication between patients and their specialists, there is a personal saving for the patients, who do not have to travel, find accommodation and miss work. Ask your doctor about Toowoomba Hospital Telehealth."



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