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Digital health capability audits for residential aged care facilities

2 November 2022
By Kate McDonald

The Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) is inviting experienced digital health contractors to help assist residential aged care facilities (RACFs) in the region to implement functional telehealth capability.

The EOI is one of a number being offered by PHNs around the country to assist RACFs with appropriate telehealth facilities and equipment so residents can consult with their primary healthcare providers and specialists virtually.

Funding is being provided by the federal government through the Department of Health and Aged Care for the initiative, which aims to ensure that telehealth systems used by RACFs are compatible with most existing virtual consulting technology used by providers in the NQPHN region, including hospitals.

The tender also involves research to establish baseline data about the capability and capacity of RACFs in relation to digital health, especially telehealth capability.

It also involves funding to provide training to participating RACF staff to support them in developing their capabilities to assist their residents in accessing virtual consultation services.

NQPHN CEO Robin Whyte said the 2018 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety brought to light the complex issues faced by older Australians, including the lack of access to GPs and allied health professionals in RACFs, difficulties accessing after hours services, and inappropriate transfers to hospitals.

“Timely access to primary healthcare professionals, whether through face-to-face or telehealth consultations, has been recognised as an issue for many RACFs, which in some cases can lead to potentially preventable hospitalisations,” Ms Whyte said.

“RACFs require adequate, functional, and secure telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for their residents.

“This work will help participating RACFs to have appropriate virtual consultation facilities and support their residents with improved levels of access to telehealth services from primary healthcare providers and encourages RACFs to have appropriate after hours plans in place.”

The tender closes on November 11.

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