Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 60,
October 2009 Abstract Supplement

The 2009 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting
Philadelphia October 16-21, 2009.


Rheumatology Telemedicine in Rural Australia

Burnet1,  Simon, Kelly2,  Tim, Marrinan3,  Alison, Donohoe3,  Peter, Wade4,  Tori

Adelaide, Australia
Crystal Brook Hospital
Adelaide to Outback GP Training Programme
University of Adelaide

Purpose:

This pilot study examines the feasibility of interns on rural placements facilitating specialist services to rural areas via an innovative e-health approach. The project was designed to enhance educational opportunities for junior doctor training, as well as increase rural access to specialist services, while providing optimal patient care.

Method:

The study involved interns at a rural general practice performing follow-up rheumatology consultations in collaboration with a metropolitan based specialist via videophone broadband link-up. The process replaces the rheumatologist's usual follow-up consultations.

Results:

Three telemedicine clinics were evaluated from the patient, intern and Rheumatologist's perspective. We found multiple benefits from this novel approach including;Interns gaining improved rheumatology clinical skills and communication skills;Enhanced understanding between general practice and other specialties;Interns and consultants working together in this way provides a high level of service otherwise not possible; and Reduced travel time and cost savings for both patients and consultants.

Conclusion:

Experience in this pilot study indicates potentially unlimited applications for dynamic broadband video link-up to enhance junior doctor training with specialists in general practice. One limitation is Rheumatologist's inability to formally examine patients. It showcases junior doctors gaining valuable high-level learning via technology appropriate to Y-generation learning styles. It offers a solution to overcome rural geographic isolation from specialist care.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Burnet, Simon, Kelly, Tim, Marrinan, Alison, Donohoe, Peter, Wade, Tori; Rheumatology Telemedicine in Rural Australia [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2009;60 Suppl 10 :1364
DOI: 10.1002/art.26438

Abstract Supplement

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