Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:46

Swinburne partners with start-up to combat doctor shortage

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Swinburne partners with start-up to combat doctor shortage Image by mcmurryjulie from Pixabay

Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with telehealth platform provider Coviu to increase the number of consultations done online in order to combat the doctor shortage in rural Australia.

A statement from Swinburne said the two companies aimed to engage students and the wider community to use the latest telehealth technology and redefine the model of healthcare.

Coviu will provide access to cutting-edge technology for Swinburne students, researchers and clinical services, while Swinburne students will learn how to break down the distance and barriers between healthcare professionals and patients.

“Having our students prepared for a workforce where healthcare is increasingly delivered remotely, is imperative and something that is at the core of digital health’s future in Australia. We need graduates that are comfortable using this technology and Swinburne will produce them,” said Dr Mark Merolli, academic director of Digital Health & Informatics at Swinburne.

“Health and digital technology go hand in hand, and this partnership reflects Swinburne’s commitment to being a leader in digital health and our passion for innovation in all aspects of teaching, training and research.”

Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, chief executive and co-founder of Coviu, said: “Our goal is to bring fairer access to healthcare for all citizens, regardless of their location, and this partnership takes us one step closer.

“Research has shown that up to 80% of clinician visits can be provided online with comparable clinical outcomes. We’ve worked hard to make our telehealth technology simple to use by patients and providers, however it’s absolutely essential that the next generation of medical professionals are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to make online consultations as effective as possible. Our partnership with Swinburne will ensure that this process takes place.

“Beyond geographical constraints, there’s often a stigma attached to seeking support for certain health services; for example, mental health. However, for many people, this disappears when they can do it from the comfort and privacy of their own home. This makes telehealth a fantastic — and under-utilised — solution for those seeking aid, regardless of location."

Swinburne aims to embed Coviu technology in the curriculum of nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, dietetics, health science, and digital health and informatics. These will be taught through Swinburne’s new Health Precinct, which utilises the latest in technology and facilities.

The technology will also be implemented in Swinburne’s new Master of Physiotherapy, and Graduate Certificate in Teleaudiology, set to launch from mid-2019.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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