Two Australian organisations have joined forces in a bid to improve remote healthcare delivery and attract more doctors to rural and remote communities across Australia.
Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with CSIRO startup Coviu to embed digital health technology in the classroom, clinic and research by using the latest telehealth technology to treat Australian's remotely.
The partnership will see Coviu, a company which specialises in online health consultations by using AI to connect doctors with hard-to-reach patients, provide access to its technology for Swinburne students, researchers and clinical services to redefine models of healthcare.
Swinburne will embed Coviu technology into the curriculum of nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, dietetics, health science, and digital health and informatics. These will be taught at Swinburne’s new Health Precinct.
The technology will also be implemented into Swinburne’s new Master of Physiotherapy, and Graduate Certificate in Teleaudiology, set to launch from mid-2019.
Coviu CEO and Co-Founder Dr Silvia Pfeiffer said the partnership enables Swinburne students to break down the distance and barriers between healthcare professionals and patients.
“The distance between healthcare providers and those they serve can require enormous amounts of effort, time, and money to overcome. Coviu aims to knock down this barrier by making video visits the new standard of care,” Pfeiffer 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.”
According to Pfeiffer, research has shown that up to 80 per cent of clinician visits can be provided online with comparable clinical outcomes and that it’s essential for the next generation of medical professionals to be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to make online consultations effective.
“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 solution for those seeking aid, regardless of location," she added.
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Swinburne University of Technology Digital Health and Informatics Academic Director Dr Mark Merolli said health and digital technology go hand in hand, and this partnership reflects Swinburne’s commitment to leading digital health and its passion for innovation in all aspects of teaching, training and research.
“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,” he said.