It's 12:52pm and Dr Jo Lene Low conducts a telehealth consultation with a patient on Wintinna Station via Coober Pedy.
Dr Low is the on-call RFDS Doctor for the day, at the ready to receive and triage emergency incoming calls from the outback, prescribe medication from a RFDS Medical Chest or escalate the response to an aeromedical evacuation.
Between emergencies, Dr Low and her clinical colleagues in the Port Augusta Primary Health Care Service conduct scheduled - and unscheduled - telehealth consultations with remote patients in between regular ‘fly-in’ primary health clinics.
This year the Port Augusta Base was selected as one of three RFDS bases across the country to take part in a national RFDS video-conference trial connecting 14 remote communities throughout South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.
Residents of these communities are being offered an additional video-conference consultation with their RFDS Doctor in between their regular fortnightly or monthly RFDS ‘fly-in’ primary health clinic.
“There’s a lot to be said for country life – but you do feel the distance when you need to see a doctor urgently, or need to find time to attend follow-up medical appointments,” says Shane Oldfield, Clayton Station, situated 54 kilometres up the Birdsville Track from Marree and 465km from Port Augusta.
"The Flying Doctor comes into Marree for a clinic every fortnight, but it can feel like a long time when you’re anxiously waiting for test results.”
“This week I had tests done on Monday and the results were back on Tuesday," Shane says.
"I was able to drive into the Marree Health Service and have a video appointment with my RFDS Doctor in Port Augusta on the same day. Isn’t that wonderful?
“In the past I’d have to either stay overnight in town or wait ten days or more for my results.
"Being able to see a Doctor over video is wonderful. It’s a really great service and certainly eases some of those worries you can have waiting for a follow-up,” Shane adds.
DID YOU KNOW? Last year the RFDS performed over 5,500 remote telehealth consultations in South and Central Australia - that's 14 every day.
Come ride with us for the day – click the button below to see what happened next.