HEADING to Brisbane to see a medical specialist is a thing of the past as Warwick welcomed its new mobile telehealth system that allows doctors at the Princess Alexandra Hospital to communicate with Warwick patients via video link.

The technology means clinicians can liaise directly with patients, bedside, and calculate medication and progress. Warwick Hospital director of nursing Megan O'Shannessy said the system was a breakthrough in Warwick's health sector. "It's really exciting," she said.

She said it meant people didn't have to travel to Brisbane or Toowoomba.

"Which by the time they get there, they could be worse off than when they left," she said.

Warwick was the first rural site in Queensland to embrace the new technology and clinical nurse Jane Fraser said she had already noticed the benefits.

"We had a client who had a positive outcome. She was looking to go into a nursing home, but (the geriatrician in Brisbane) changed her medication and she was able to go back home," she said.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg, Senator Stephen Conroy, champion of the system Professor Len Gray and other health professionals gathered at the Brisbane end yesterday to launch the link-up to Warwick, when they spoke with patient Annette Maunder and husband Bruce in real-time.

"It was great to be in a room in Brisbane and interact with Mr and Mrs Maunder - to see them in such good health and spirits was very pleasing to me," Mr Springborg said.

"Mr Maunder hit the nail on the head when he said 'you can keep your Brisbane'!". "It made me smile because I realise more than most the tyranny of distance and travel and the logistics of having meetings in the city when you are from regional Queensland.

"People don't understand all of the stuffing around that you have to go through to organise family and kids and appointments, drive a few hours in traffic and in an environment that you are not used to - all for a ten minute specialist appointment," Mr Springborg said.

"I hope to see the telehealth program expanded so more people from the Southern Downs and regional Queensland can benefit from this wonderful technology."



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