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


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.


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.


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.


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

Meeting Menu