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Rural Innovations Changing Healthcare

Rural Innovations Changing Healthcare

Over 240 healthcare professionals and consumers connected in a virtual forum hosted by the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) last week, showcasing innovative rural working models of care and demonstrating new ways to collaborate and improve healthcare across NSW.

The Rural Innovations Changing Healthcare (RICH) Forum is a virtual conference without travel, using a combination of face to face, video-conference and social media to link rural and regional satellite groups via video-conference and web stream technologies.

The theme of this year’s forum, “Collaborative teams”, showcased projects that demonstrated innovative approaches which have the potential for broader implementation and collaboration across rural health sectors.

They include:

  • Clinical application of Information Technology – Ashley Young, Hunter New England LHD
  • Shared Care Community Midwifery – Pauline Hatherly, Murrumbidgee LHD
  • Aboriginal Wellbeing: A Cancer Journey of Healing – Narelle Cochrane, Mid North Coast LHD
  • Who Yu Gonna Call? – Richard Widders, Mid North Coast LHD
  • How access has changed emergency mental health care in the bush – Emily Saurman, Far Western NSW LHD
  • Sugar Gum: Diabetes and Gum Disease – Lyn Mayne, Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Supporting Delirium and Dementia Care with Volunteers – Cath Bateman, Southern NSW LHD
  • Authorised Palliative Care Plans – Michelle Shiel, NSW Ambulance
  • Video Examples of Speech Pathology Activities (VESPA ) – Craig Suosaari, Mid North Coast LHD.

Projects are available via the Innovation Exchange.

Keynote speaker Dr John Lambert, NSW Chief Clinical Information Officer with eHealth NSW, set the scene for the day with an inspiring overview of plans to redesign the use of eHealth across NSW to improve integration of information across health sectors (community, emergency and acute) and to invest in collaboration between Local Health Districts by upgrading broadband width, speed and connectivity.

Social media played a key role in promoting the forum and sharing lessons learnt, with more than 560 tweets generated from 65 participants, doubling the amount of Twitter coverage and engagement achieved from RICH in 2014. This allowed participants who couldn’t attend the event to follow the concepts presented in real time and contribute to discussions on projects throughout the day. It also enabled presenters with a social media presence to connect with people interested in their work. You can continue the conversation and see the highlights of the RICH Forum on Twitter, using #RICH2015.

Presentations were broadcast using the NSW Health Bridge, to 18 satellite hubs across rural NSW sites including:

  • Balranald
  • Bega
  • Broken Hill 
  • Chatswood
  • Dubbo
  • Goulburn
  • Kempsey
  • Lismore
  • Macksville
  • Milton Ulladulla
  • Moree
  • Muswellbrook
  • Narrabri
  • Orange
  • Port Macquarie
  • Temora
  • Tweed
  • Young

This was the first time that live web streaming had been offered to NSW Health facilities. Forty clinicians took the opportunity to link in for sessions of relevance from their desktops, at home or at work.

Forum delegates included non-government organisations, Local Health Districts, General and Private Practitioners, Pillar Agencies, Aboriginal Medical Services, Medicare Locals, Residential Aged Care Providers, NSW Ambulance, Royal Flying Doctor Service, University Departments of Rural Health, Department of Education, consumers and undergraduate students.