Graphic: Telehealth goes national
A revised version of Mantle – the organisation’s secure, custom-built platform – is being made available to all RFDS sections this year.
The project enables other RFDS Sections to use this secure infrastructure to support their own service delivery. Work will continue in 2021 with sections involved in nominating specific projects that will leverage the basic structure and incorporate more tailored functionality for identified areas of care.
RFDS Victoria has been a leader in providing specialist consults via telehealth to rural and remote communities since 2013. RFDS Victoria uses the Mantle platform to connect clients with a medical specialist via video call, and provides a high-quality alternative to a face-to-face appointment. The specialist consults are 100% bulk billed, and the service removes the barriers of cost, travel and distance when it comes to accessing specialist care.
With support from the Flying Doctor Telehealth team and our partner clinics, clients can access appointments in cardiology, addiction, endocrinology, geriatrics, paediatrics, pain management, psychiatry and respiratory. The service is available across Victoria, as well as in parts of NSW and Tasmania, through participating health services.
Generally clients would attend their local health service for these appointment but during COVID-19, we adapted the platform to allow clients to access appointments from their home, not only for specialist consults, but also appointments with an RFDS GP or mental health clinician.
While COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of telehealth during a crisis, Dr Melanie Trivett, RFDS Victoria General Manager – Primary Health Care, says that it’s important to remember the ongoing need for access to telehealth services in rural and remote areas.
“The barriers of isolation and distance – and their implications when it comes to accessing health care – are not new to country communities. While top of mind due to COVID-19, it is important to remember that many rural and remote Australians face these issues every day,” says Dr Trivett.