Telehealth 2 You, Allied Health Assistants, and Closing the Healthcare Gap.
In this month’s blog, we spoke to Susannah Neame, Vivir Healthcare’s Virtual and Indigenous Operations Manager to discuss all things telehealth (digital health services), Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) and closing the healthcare gap for Indigenous communities. See the interview below!
What is Telehealth 2 You?
Vivir’s Telehealth 2 You service (TH2U) is an innovative virtual service that supports the delivery of allied healthcare (Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech pathology and Dietetics) to rural or remote locations throughout Australia.
How does it work?
Once Vivir has a contract for services established with a Service Provider a referral can be made via the Vivir Telehealth referral form. The referral form is provided as a PDF or via the Vivir website.
Vivir then employ a local Allied Health Assistant (AHA) to facilitate the assessment. The AHA is equipped with a device that is internet-connected and they work under the guidance of the Healthcare Professional who can virtually assess and document the correct findings and therefore, interventions.
The AHA provides the in-person support during the review by attending the care receivers’ home, community space or equipment store and assists with tasks such as measuring for home modifications (e.g. grab rails or threshold ramps) or overseeing exercises prescribed by the Health Professional.
This service must help reach more and more people who require healthcare but might not be able to receive it so easily. How does Vivir intend for it to help in ‘closing the healthcare gap’?
Closing the healthcare gap is a big driver for Vivir and we are hopeful for what this service can achieve in rural communities.
The TH2U model specifically supports allied health navigation and provision within the Indigenous communities. Vivir are currently undertaking a journey, and in conversations with Indigenous Community Elders and Health Providers to better understand the healthcare wants of aging remote and Indigenous communities.
Vivir have taken a holistic approach to closing the gap; as well as supporting direct healthcare provisions, we are looking to support closing the gap by seeking expressions of interests of those with experience, or keen to work as AHAs, or Aboriginal Outreach workers.
Vivir have training modules to support the upskilling of Indigenous community members and rural community members into this role. The Vivir virtual team are also supported with cultural appreciation, competency and awareness training.
That sounds great, has there been any feedback on the telehealth services so far?
The feedback has been very positive with Service Providers acknowledging the benefits of timely healthcare interventions balanced with the reduced costs due to omitting travel fees. One remote services provider provided this glowing testimonial:
"Etheridge Cares is a remote Community Aged Care and Disability program located approximately 6hr west of Carins. We do not have ready access to Allied Health when it is required and cannot use homecare packages to access the QLD Health Services that do come to the region.
Susannah has been instrumental in walking me through the process of working and accessing Vivir healthcare for our clients. The turnaround time has been very quick and prompt. Our care recipients were surprised that they did not have to wait months to see any allied health services and received their recommended equipment in a timely manner.
I have spoken highly of Susannah and her team to many other community-managed rural and remote programs as well as the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care. We are privileged to be working with Vivir Health Care, Susannah and the team."
- Etheridge Cares, Remote Services Provider