Thursday, 18 April 2013 01:03

RDNS telehealth wins international ICT award

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Australia’s Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS)  telehealth project, which allows a nurse to make a ‘virtual visit’ to a patient at home, has won the Outstanding ICT Innovation award in the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2013 in Singapore.

The award was made on the opening day of the 4th Ageing Asia Investment Forum taking place in Singapore where 300 international delegates from business, government and community sectors are gathering to discuss the challenges of ageing populations in the Asian region.

RDNS Chief Executive, Adjunct Professor Stephen Muggleton, said the win - earlier this week – came on the same day as RDNS made its first public demonstration in Asia of its seniors-friendly telehealth solution that will potentially enable earlier hospital discharge for patients, prevent medicine mismanagement and maximise nursing resources.

Professor Muggleton said RDNS demonstrated its project with a videolink between conference guest-of-honour, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Mr Chan Chun Sing, and nurse Amanda Murray who was more than 6000 kilometres away at the RDNS call-centre in Melbourne.

Murray took the Minister through a conversation as though he was a real patient,  monitoring his ‘medication’ (lollies for the demonstration) and hypothetically taking his blood pressure.

Professor Muggleton said the RDNS solution was the principal platform of the organisation’s move into delivering care using high-speed broadband technology, and was designed specifically to help address the challenges associated with caring for an ageing population.

He said the effectiveness of the project called Healthy, Happy and at Home, had been tested over the past 24 months in Australia with a sample size of about 50 clients, with each client having a special monitor at home with an inbuilt camera, allowing nurses at the RDNS call centre to conduct two-way video calls with clients at the comfort of their home.

The project is being pioneered by the RDNS with the help of the Victorian Government under its Broadband Enabled Innovation Program (BEIP), with the objective to help clients remain in their homes for longer to avoid hospital stays and reduce the overall burden on the health system.

Professor Muggleton said the telehealth project was "a great example of how clever but easy-to-use technology can provide better in-home support for consumers."  "The success of this project is opening up a range of other exciting solutions that build on the capacity of our nurse-led call centre.”

According to Professor Muggleton, the telehealth development is opening new doors for the delivery of vital home nursing and healthcare.  “At RDNS’s world-class call centre in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell, a team of nurses make a ‘virtual visits’ to clients at home using broadband technology.

“It means that RDNS clients – as well as their families and carers – have the peace of mind that RDNS staff can “see” that the correct medication is being taken while also engaging in a professional, reassuring nursing assessment and consultation.  

Professor Muggleton said the ‘Healthy, Happy and at Home’ project was a “major and exciting innovation” for the participating partners, RDNS, Telstra, Healthe Tech and La Trobe University and was “demonstrating the benefit of broadband-enabled medicines and nursing management to enable ageing-in-place.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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