Technology to support better health

Date published

16 Nov 2020

Digital patient medical bags will soon arm the Flying Doctor with lifesaving technological support for patients in rural and remote Australia, thanks to a generous donation from Mrs Gina Rinehart and the Rinehart Medical Foundation.

Work is underway to provide the service with a new national RFDS Electronic Health Record so doctors and nurses across Australia can more accurately diagnose and treat patients.

“The new web-based software application will have offline capability and can be used in the air or on the road to help clinical teams track and service patients,” RFDS Central Operations Chief Executive Tony Vaughan ASM says.

“This bespoke medical record will be digitally compatible with every state health and hospital system, the emergency ambulance service and our own RFDS remote primary health care service, so there is accurate, portable access to patient records of diagnosis and treatment,” he says.

“It means ‘digital patient medical bags’ can be assigned to flights, and the status of form-completion and record finalisation can be tracked.”

The project is focused on more seamless care for patients and better health outcomes, Mr Vaughan says, who is leading the national project board to build the Electronic Health Record.

Earlier this year, Mrs Gina Rinehart and Rinehart Medical Foundation supported our COVID-19 surge capability through the generous provision of $6 million in funds to the RFDS – $2 million of which allocated to RFDS Central Operations (serving SA/NT).

The investment provided seed funding to develop the bespoke national medical record along with buying important additional life-saving equipment across all sites, including ventilators, heart monitors, ventilators, iSTAT machines, IV infusion pumps, Automated External Defibrillators and telehealth hubs.

It also followed outback icon S. Kidman & Co expanding and extending its $1 million-plus ‘Jet Partner’ sponsorship of RFDS Central Operations for another four years.

“The impact of S. Kidman & Co’s tangible contribution to our work is far reaching, and we are honoured to have both RFDS Medi-Jet 24s badged with the S. Kidman & Co logo for the next four years,” Mr de Cure says.

The latest in aeromedical technology, the new RFDS Medi-Jet 24 (VH-FZQ) arrived in July.

Its arrival doubles the RFDS’ jet power across Australia’s central corridor, achieving a long-term vision to provide dedicated aeromedical jet capability in both the Northern Territory and South Australia.

“This new RFDS Medi-Jet 24 – our second purpose-built aeromedical jet – will be dedicated to serve the Territory, to care for all Territorians for decades to come,” RFDS Central Operations Chairman, Peter de Cure, said during the unveiling in Darwin.

“At a cost of $14 million, this innovation in aeromedical care was financed solely by the RFDS’ own capital-raising through fundraising, bequests, corporate sponsorship and donations from all corners of the community.”

One of the nation’s largest beef producers with pastoral properties across three states and the Northern Territory, S. Kidman & Co is owned by Australian Outback Beef, a joint venture of Hancock Prospecting and Shangai CRED.