Major win for telehealth project

An Australian telehealth project that allows a nurse to make a ‘virtual visit’ to a patient at home has received international recognition. 

RDNS, Australia’s oldest and largest home nursing organisation, won the Outstanding ICT Innovation award in the Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2013 in Singapore recently.

The award was made on the opening day of the fourth Ageing Asia Investment Forum where 300 international delegates from business, government and community sectors gathered to discuss the challenges of ageing populations in the Asian region.

RDNS executive general manager (projects and business development) Stelvio Vido addressed the forum on Australia’s ageing population challenges and RDNS’s initiatives involving new technology and the broadband to complement face-to-face client visits.

Stelvio Vido of RDNS with Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Chan Chun Sing.

Stelvio Vido of RDNS with Singapore’s Senior Minister of State, Chan Chun Sing.

The win came on the same day as RDNS made its first public demonstration in Asia of its seniors-friendly telehealth solution that will potentially enable earlier hospital discharge for patients, prevent medicine mismanagement and maximise nursing resources.

The effectiveness of the project called Healthy, Happy and at Home, has been tested over the past 24 months in Australia with a sample size of about 50 clients. Each client has a special monitor at home with an inbuilt camera, allowing nurses at the RDNS call centre to conduct two-way video calls with clients at the comfort of their home.

The project is being pioneered with the help of the Victorian Government under its Broadband Enabled Innovation Program (BEIP). The objective is to help clients remain in their homes for longer to avoid hospital stays and reduce the overall burden on the health system.  Participating partners are Telstra, Healthe Tech and La Trobe University.

RDNS chief executive, Adjunct Professor Stephen Muggleton, said he was delighted with the win.

“I want to particularly thank the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation which has given us magnificent support as well as our partners and the RDNS team who have delivered this innovative solution,” Muggleton said.

“It is a great example of how clever but easy-to-use technology can provide better in-home support for consumers. The success of this project is opening up a range of other exciting solutions that build on the capacity of our nurse-led call centre.”

RDNS, which is Australia’s oldest and largest home nursing organisation, makes nearly two million care and support visits every year to 45,000 clients who are living at home or in other places of their choosing. Staff travel 10 million kilometres, equivalent to 13 round trips to the moon.

The participating partners in the project are the RDNS, Telstra, Healthe Tech and La Trobe University.

Top image: RDNS nurse Amanda Murray making the call to Singapore.

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