Graphic: visionflex-rfds

Clear vision for the future

Date published

28 Apr 2021

Doctors will be able to accurately diagnose patients by sight without having to be in the same room or even the same state, thanks to a generous donation to the RFDS.

A $6 million donation from Mrs Rinehart and the Rinehart Medical Foundation, announced last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has partly gone towards state-of-the-art video health hubs to connect RFDS doctors with patients. 

RFDS Central Operations Primary Health Care ManagerMandy Smallacombe said access to the Pro EX Visionflex units had come at the ideal time of year when outback travel was at its peak.

“If someone was driving in the area and had a medical episode, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, they could go to one of the telehealth units and say they needed to speak to a doctor,” she said.

“The doctor would be able to see them on the unit so could make a decision on how they looked. There is a lot you can tell by just looking at someone.

“Our doctors can instantly get three or four pieces of diagnostic information from using Visionflex. 

That could well be the difference between coordinating an emergency flight or advising the patient to take some Mylanta for indigestion.

“It’s a truly game-changing assessment tool to have in remote areas.”

The units, about the same size as a three-door filing cabinet, also have a blood pressure cup and a camera and tongue depressor attached for primary health check-ups. 

There are currently four Visionflex units set up at the health clinics in Marla, Oodnadatta, Marree and Kingoonya with further units planned for roll-out at other outback locations.