“Beam me up Scottie!” OK, so we are not quite there with the teleporting gig but Feros Care’s LifeLink Telehealthcare and the NBN does provide people with some savvy video and health technology which makes managing their chronic condition easier and even a little bit fun.
Since April 2013 Feros Care’s LifeLink Telehealthcare service has been trialling a new NBN-enabled health service on the mid north coast of NSW. Marketing Manager, Melissa Simpson, explains.
Feros Care is excited to be working with Coffs Harbour residents to make technology work harder in their own home to improve their health and wellness. It’s not just a chance for Feros Care to explore new opportunities, but also for people to come on board so they can be in the driver’s seat of managing their own health (such as those living with diabetes, heart failure, unstable blood pressure or lung disease).
Under the service, known as My Health Clinic At Home (MHCAH), all participants will be equipped with and trained to use technology such as a digital thermometer, blood pressure monitor, weight scale, pulse oximeter and glucometer. It will all be connected to a pre-programmed touchscreen computer which has a daily health interview and video conferencing capabilities.
All the client has to do is take their daily vital signs such as temperature or blood sugar levels, depending on their chronic condition, and answer a few wellness questions. The devices automatically transmit the result to the computer and the completed health interview is securely sent over the NBN to the Telehealth Registered Nurse for monitoring every weekday.
If an adverse result is received, the nurse will call or dial into a video conference with the client and talk to them from the comfort of their own home. They will work together to see if there’s a reason behind the change in results and determine if a further consult is needed with a GP (which can also be done by video conference). One of the trial clients has commented on the daily monitoring as “like having my own private nurse”.
Continued daily monitoring such as this has been proven to improve participants’ understanding of their health condition and allowed them to see how diet and lifestyle can impact on their results – often leading to positive changes and increased confidence that their health can be better self-managed.
The trial, however, doesn’t just open up opportunities for better management of physical health. All participants are also encouraged to use the video conferencing feature to boost their social connections. Just like anyone would independently use Skype, participants in this trial are able to use the MHCAH computer (connected via Skype) to talk to friends and relatives from their living room.
In essence, while this trial might seem as though it’s purely about health management, it’s actually about exploring the best ways people can remain independent at home. This might mean having health services come to them ‘virtually’ or just being able to dial in and see a smiling face via a video call.
Know someone aged over 65 who lives in Coffs Harbour and might benefit from being part of this trial? Contact Feros Care’s LifeLink team to find out more (including eligibility) on 1300 851 771 or visit www.lifelinkresponse.com.au.