NACCHO Aboriginal #Telehealth News Alert : 1.@RuralDoctorsAus and @ACRRM call for a strong commitment to boost access to telehealth services for patients in the bush. 2. #TeleOutreach improving hearing outcomes for children in remote communities

Telehealth is already proving its worth in making healthcare more accessible to rural and remote patients, through enabling them to undertake follow-up consults with distant specialists via videoconferencing (accompanied by their local GP) or to undertake mental health consults with psychologists.

 This has been a great start, and we commend the current and previous governments for investing in this important area.

 But it is now time to take telehealth to the next level.

 We are calling on the Federal Government to now fund telehealth consultations for rural and remote patients with their local GPs, and for Federal Labor to commit to doing the same if they are elected.

Boosting access to consults with local rural GPs via telehealth for those living in the bush would be a tremendous step forward in making it easier for more rural and remote patients to improve their health outcomes.”

RDAA President, Dr Adam Coltzau see full Press Release Part 1 Below

Download Submission Here

RDAA ACRRM telehealth submission

Watch NACCHO TV example here

 ” Our new tele-follow up prog for children with hearing aids in remote communities includes a family-nominated Hearing Helper role. We support them to support family & they help us connect via video. Wondering if this is novel?”

Australian Hearing has launched a trial of a teleOutreach service that provides a follow-up appointment with hearing impaired Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote locations via video-chat ”

Sam Harkus See Part 2 Below

As the major political parties develop their election platforms in the lead-up to the next federal election, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) are calling for a strong commitment to boost access to telehealth services for patients in the bush.

RDAA and ACRRM have lodged a submission with the major parties that proposes increasing access to telehealth consults with rural GPs as part of a cycle of care arrangement for rural and remote patients.

The patient would first see their regular rural or remote GP face-to-face and then be able to access and MBS rebate for a fixed number of follow-up consultations by telehealth — not just for specific conditions, but also for routine general practice health care checks.

The submission has been supported by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

ACRRM President, Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, said: “The tyranny of distance discourages many rural patients from seeing their doctor.

“For many rural patients who live on properties far from town, or who live many hours’ drive away from their nearest GP, a trip to the doctor even for a short consultation can entail a full day away from the farm, work or home.

“Sometimes this can be a big contributor in rural and remote patients not visiting their doctor, even when they have an underlying health condition and should be seeing the doctor regularly for checkups.

“Increasing access to telehealth consults with their regular GP for these patients will make it much easier for them to get their health checked regularly.

“The initial rollout of telehealth in the specialist care and mental healthcare space has shown that it can be very successful in making healthcare more accessible in the bush, provided it is used to support, rather than replace, face-to-face services.

“It would be great to see telehealth now expanded to increase the ability of rural and remote patients to consult their local rural GP for a wide range of conditions, including  follow-up checks and ongoing care for chronic conditions.”

Part 2

For the past three decades Australian Hearing has been dedicated to improving access to hearing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Now Australian Hearing has launched a trial of a teleOutreach service to further our support. This service provides a follow-up appointment with hearing impaired Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote locations via video-chat.

The service, called TeleFUP, is led by Australian Hearing’s dedicated team of outreach audiologists and delivers support to children in remote communities after they are fitted with their first hearing aid.

The six-month trial will focus on providing follow up support to children and some adults within two to three weeks of receiving their hearing aid. These children and their families currently wait on average three months for a face-to-face follow-up. A small teleOutreach team of Sydney and Melbourne-based audiologists will connect with remote community clients across the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

A strength of the TeleFUP program will be community Hearing Helpers. These are people who live and work in the community, who already play a role in the child’s life. Australian Hearing will also support the Helpers remotely so they can provide assistance to families.

“For over 30 years, the aim of Australian Hearing’s outreach program has been to improve access to hearing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through building strong community connections. The program has reached a new landmark with the launch of the TeleFUP trial,” says Samantha Harkus, Principal Audiologist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services, Australian Hearing.

“The first few weeks with a hearing aid are critical. It’s a time when extra support is needed.  However, in remote communities there is usually less assistance available for families. Through TeleFUP, Australian Hearing can provide better support from a distance and help to strengthen community support. This will make it easier for children to make great use of their hearing aids so they can hear easily,” says Samantha.

TeleFUP is Australian Hearing’s second teleOutreach program, now joining TeleFIT which started in 2016. TeleFIT is a video-fitting clinic aimed at children under five years in remote communities.

As an Australian Hearing initiative implemented in partnership with Queensland’s Aboriginal Hearing Health program Deadly Ears, TeleFIT has significantly reduced waiting time and tripled the number of children receiving hearing aids before they start school.


NACCHO Telehealth News Alert : NT Telehealth community trial has saved time, money and improved access to care



“Telstra has worked with NT Health and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) to pilot the NTCS with the Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation in Tennant Creek and the Santa Teresa Health Centre near Alice Springs. This has provided the clinics with dedicated services that connect into NT Health’s existing telehealth network.”

An independent evaluation of the Northern Territory’s telehealth trial has recommended that the project continue and that the telehealth network be developed further until the services are embedded into routine practice.

The NT Department of Health began the trial in June 2014 to provide telehealth services to clinics in the Katherine, Barkly and Central Australian regions from hospital specialists in Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin.

Specialist appointments available include cardiac, orthopaedic, haemotology, oncology, dermatology and urology, with specialists burns services now being provided by SA Health.

In October 2014, the NT government signed a contract with Telstra Health to improve the network infrastructure as part of the wider National Telehealth Connection Service.

Telstra has worked with NT Health and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) to pilot the NTCS with the Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation in Tennant Creek and the Santa Teresa Health Centre near Alice Springs. This has provided the clinics with dedicated services that connect into NT Health’s existing telehealth network.

Figures released today as part of the evaluation show that telehealth consultations have grown from about 200 a year to more than 1000 and have delivered savings of more than $1.1 million in travel costs.

Telehealth attendances in Tennant Creek had grown from 62 in 2013-14 to 519 in the trial period of July 2014 to September 2015, an increase of 737 per cent.

In Alice Springs, they have grown from 33 to 192, and from 100 to 331 in Katherine.

NT Chief Minister Adam Giles said the program had also reduced did not attend rates.

“This is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates that telehealth is delivering better health outcomes in regional and remote communities and reducing the need for patients to travel long distances to access health services,” Mr Giles said in a statement.

“It’s also helped reduce costs to the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme budget with savings estimated of at least $1.189 million on travel costs alone, while the rate of patients not attending their appointments was substantially lower than for standard hospital outpatient clinics.”

Health Minister John Elferink said an evaluation report into the telehealth trial had recommended the project continue and that the telehealth network be developed further until the services are embedded into routine practice.

“Telehealth services clearly have an important and growing role to play in ensuring more Territorians get more access to the health care they need,” he said.

“The government will now consider the recommendations of the evaluation report and look at what resources and training we need to provide to extend the use of telehealth services in the Territory.”

Trial project leader Sam Goodwin, acting executive director of medical and clinical services at the Alice Springs Hospital, said telehealth was good for patients and health professionals, and was delivering efficiencies for the health system.

“Clinicians on the frontline have summarised the telehealth pilot very nicely,” Dr Goodwin said. “’It is not often you can say that you have saved money and everyone has got really good health care for that saving, and you are not losing anything – usually when you make savings of money you have lost something’.”

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 Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Close the Gap Campaign for the governments of Australia to commit to achieving equality  for Indigenous people in the areas of health and  life expectancy within 25 years.”

Next publication date 6 April 2016

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Response to this NACCHO media initiative has been nothing short of sensational over the past 3 years , with feedback from around the country suggesting we really kicked a few positive goals for national Aboriginal health.

Thanks to all our supporters, most especially our advertisers, NACCHO’S Aboriginal Health News is here to stay.

NACCHO Aboriginal ehealth technology news: Telehealth,ehealth and the Aboriginal digital divide

Eh ealth

In this issue Telehealth

Roy Monaghan, national telehealth delivery officer at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), says the lack of reliable broadband in remote and rural Australia has contributed to a digital divide.

Please note that NACCHO plans to launch an ABORIGINAL HEALTH APP this week as part of its Sports Healthy Futures Program ;

Followed by Ehealth below

The PCEHR will become the primary record for all new information, but the MeHR will also be accessible for historical documents.

The NT is also holding off until next year as the national PCEHR cannot yet receive pathology and diagnostic imaging reports, which the MeHR can. The NT is planning to go live just after the major upgrade of the PCEHR planned for April, when pathology reports are expected to be available.

TELEHEALTH: Slow NBN rollout contributing to digital literacy deficit

The slow roll out of the National Broadband Network is contributing an ongoing digital literacy deficit across Australia, especially in telehealth, according to speakers at the Connected Australia event in Sydney.

“There’s a lot of up-skilling to do, in particular at the home end or recipient end of healthcare. There’s a notion of build it and they will come: If you don’t have the NBN, you won’t generate the digital literacy to maximise the use of it. So it’s a little like chicken and egg,” said Professor Colin Carati, associate head of ICT at Flinders University.

Roy Monaghan, national telehealth delivery officer at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), agreed, saying the lack of reliable broadband in remote and rural Australia has contributed to a digital divide.

“It’s like having a bike: you don’t really learn what the bike can do until you get on it. You may make a few mistakes, but essentially you have a vehicle that can take you faster than you can with your legs. If people don’t have the ability to jump onto a system and make those mistakes, adjust and learn on how to do things a bit better, we are not going to go places.”

Carati pointed to issues around the NBN rollout schedule not going according to plan, saying it has made the process of providing adequate teleheatlh services difficult.

A NACCHO survey showed that only 30 of about 100 members were actually engaging in telehealth services, with the lack of an effective Internet connection being the main reason why many weren’t engaging in telehealth, said Monaghan.

He added that the new government’s fibre-to-the-node broadband policy is “an incomplete solution”, but it could offer some flexibility in being able to make changes to the network as technology continues evolves over time.

“It could be that wireless technology does evolve and you may be able to [leverage] it at these nodes, and maybe there will be a Wi-Fi tower that can shoot out the information at a very high speed.”

A telehealth project that Carati is working on in South Australia is providing people at home with particular health conditions to have their health status monitored remotely on a regular basis through an iPad app and through video conferencing.

He said he was able to provide this without the need for a large amount of bandwidth; less than 1Mbps per video conference. However, he said he is still limited in the quality of service he can provide due to poor reliability of Internet.

“There are occasions, especially when you are using non NBN related technologies, where you are getting poor quality and reliability of service, primarily though the contention of those technologies where you are getting too many people trying to jump on the bandwidth.

“The NBN will improve access, especially pushing out to the home and the bandwidth demands are likely to increase.”


States commit to rapid eHealth integration project

Written by Kate McDonald on 10 October 2013., Pulse IT magazine

The majority of states and territories will have the ability to begin allowing acute care clinicians to view clinical documents and send discharge summaries to the PCEHR system by the end of the year.

In a panel discussion at a recent ICT forum organised by the Department of Health and NEHTA, jurisdictional representatives provided an update on their respective eHealth strategies and how they planned to connect acute care to the PCEHR.

No representatives from South Australia and Western Australia were on the panel, although SA has already begun sending discharge summaries from nine public hospitals and has developed software called Healthcare Information and PCEHR Services (HIPS) that is being used by other states as part of NEHTA’s unfortunately named rapid integration project (RIP).

Paul McRae, the principal enterprise architect with Queensland Health, told the forum that the jurisdictions were all members of a RIP steering committee that he chairs. Mr McRae said the committee had agreed that the first steps to integrating with the PCEHR was to enable discharge summaries to be uploaded and to allow clinicians to view clinical documents.

Mr McRae said Queensland Health had linked with the HI Service in January this year, and those using it were achieving an 85 per cent match rate when pulling in batches of Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHIs).

He said NASH certificates and HPI-Os were recently acquired for healthcare organisations to support the rapid integration program.

“We are looking to roll out statewide the ability to send discharge summaries to the PCEHR from all facilities that use our enterprise discharge summary application, which is all bar about three,” he said.

“And we are going to provide the ability to view PCEHR information from our clinical portal, which is called The Viewer . That will be available in around 200-plus facilities and that will all happen early in November.

“At the same time, discharge summaries in CDA format level 2 will be able to be sent point to point as well.”

Yin Man, manager of NSW Health’s RIP program – better known as HealtheNet – said CDA discharge summaries and event summaries had been able to be sent to GPs and the NSW clinical repository from within the Greater Western Sydney lead site since August last year.

Clinicians in Greater Western Sydney are now able to access the national system through a clinical portal , which Ms Man said would be rolled out to all public hospitals in the state over the next two years.

“Our clinicians in hospitals within Greater Western Sydney have been viewing CDA discharges since last August and this year we have been integrating with the national,” she said.

“All hospitals will be connected to this one portal. Things have been going quite well and we already have half a million CDA documents within our clinical repository, and we pretty much generate about 6000 a month. As soon as we connect, we will be sending a lot of documents to the national.”

Victoria’s representative on the panel, the Victorian Department of Health’s advisor on eHealth policy and engagement, Peter Williams, did not go into much detail on his state’s plans for integrating with the PCEHR as a review of the state’s health IT sector is currently with the health minister.

It is understood that some local health districts – particularly those that took part in the Wave 1 and 2 lead site projects – are soon to begin sending discharge summaries to the national system, but Victoria does not have the centralised approach that the other states are taking.

Mr Williams said Victoria had put a proposal to NEHTA to look at how to expand the viewing capacity of hospitals outside of the lead sites. “Once you have done it for some, you can extend it to others … using common software, and we have licences across Victoria,” he said.

“With the secure messaging project that is being done in SA, while they are using different technology, the design approach is adaptable in Victoria very quickly. That is absolutely the core of what the RIP project is about – fast-tracking some of those things.”

The Northern Territory is currently working through a major project that it is calling the M2N , in which it is transitioning its successful My eHealth Record (MeHR) system over to the national PCEHR. For that reason, it will not go live with full discharge summary and viewing capability until March or April next year.

Robert Whitehead, director of eHealth policy and strategy with the NT Department of Health, said the territory was probably going to follow Queensland and provide a combined view of both the MeHR and the PCEHR for its departmental staff.

The PCEHR will become the primary record for all new information, but the MeHR will also be accessible for historical documents.

The NT is also holding off until next year as the national PCEHR cannot yet receive pathology and diagnostic imaging reports, which the MeHR can. The NT is planning to go live just after the major upgrade of the PCEHR planned for April, when pathology reports are expected to be available.

“We have a unique set of circumstances in that we’ve been operating [the MeHR] now for eight years,” Mr Whitehead said. “We’ve got an established community of consumers and providers who have expectations about usability.

“We needed … for our clinicians in particular to be confident that what they see in [the PCEHR] matched what they currently are able to see. That has been the driver for asking DoHA and NEHTA to advance some aspects of PCEHR work in terms of a view that would support an aggregation of some key pieces of primary care information and event summaries.

“Our clinicians at the moment have access to a document that aggregates information … and that gives them a bit of a context about what has been going on with that patient in the last little while.

“The other thing is around pathology and diagnostic imaging reports in that our clinicians are used to being able to seeing pathology results that were ordered in a primary care context. Hospital stuff at the moment appears in the discharge summary and we are not arguing that should be changed.

“So our go live is a little later in that we are targeting around March-April next year as the go live date because of this need to do a hard transition from one to the other. We will still do a dual view of MeHR for people who are registered so that historical information is still accessible to our current participating healthcare providers.”

Like Victoria, Tasmania is also currently undertaking a review of its eHealth strategy. Tim Blake, deputy chief information officer with the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, said Tasmania was “on the cusp” of releasing its updated eHealth strategy, which is expected to include more details about connecting to the national system.

Pulse+IT understands that Tasmania will adopt the South Australian technology to begin allowing discharge summaries to be sent and clinical documents to be viewed within its public hospitals.

The ACT has been very active in eHealth, with Calvary Hospital playing a large role in one of the Wave 2 projects and already having the ability to send CDA discharge summaries to the PCEHR and to GPs.

The ACT Health Directorate’s manager for the national eHealth project, Ian Bull, said the territory had been investigating how to quickly verify IHIs for newborn babies, so their parents can register them for a PCEHR from birth.

“Within our jurisdiction we are building a consumer portal , so consumers can log in and look at their appointments for outpatients services,” Mr Bull said.“We are also building a provider portal for clinicians in the region to be able to submit referrals and get bookings.”

He said the ACT was also in discussions with the federal Department of Human Services to investigate using Medicare’s Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system more widely in the hospital environment.


Update 1.00 pm October 16

UGPA calls on Government to address clinical utility of the PCEHR as an urgent priority

Australia’s general practice (GP) leaders are calling on the Government to heed concerns raised by GPs regarding the significant clinical utility issues associated with the Personally Controlled eHealth Record (PCEHR) system and address them as an urgent priority.

At a recent United General Practice Australia (UGPA) meeting in Canberra, representatives of the GP sector unanimously agreed that the focus of the PCEHR needs to be redirected to clinical utility and standardisation to ensure seamless clinical adoption.

Significant issues have been identified and currently there is no alignment between consumer registration and meaningful use through engagement of the clinical community and assurance of improvement of patient health outcomes.

In August 2013 a number of key clinical leads resigned from National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). This was amidst ongoing concerns and requests for NEHTA and the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) to review the PCEHR development cycle and re-establish meaningful clinical l input.

Since August, DoHA has become the PCEHR system operator and opportunities for clinical engagement have been less clear.

UGPA is calling on Government to implement strategies to ensure the PCEHR is best structured to improve the health outcomes of all Australians. The process should be profession led and include:

• GP input at every level of the PCEHR development life cycle; including planning through to implementation

• Ensuring the system is clinically safe, usable and fit for purpose

• Supported by an acceptable, and robust legal and privacy framework

• Secure messaging interoperability is a critical dependency priority.

E-health and the PCEHR have the potential to transform Australia’s health system and provide superior, safer and more efficient healthcare to all Australian patients. UGPA members believe that this potential will only be fully realised if there is meaningful clinical engagement at a grassroots level.

The Government has announced it will review implementation of the PCEHR. UGPA supports the review and look forward to contributing to the review and expect that the clinical voice and the concerns raised will be heard.


UGPA comprises the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA), the Australian General 2

Practice Network (AGPN), General Practice Registrars Australia (GPRA), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).


Are you interested in working in Aboriginal health?

NACCHO is the national authority in comprehensive Aboriginal primary health care currently has a wide range of job opportunities in the pipeline.

Current NACCHO job opportunities

Human Resource Officer

QUMAX Project Officer

Quality & Accreditation Support Project Officer

Close the Gap Project Officer

NACCHO HEALTH INNOVATION and EXCELLENCE: Could TELEHEALTH kiosks be a “health” solution for remote communities


NACCHO is leading the way in the Aboriginal Controlled Community Controlled Health sector rolling out both EHealth and TELEHEALTH
Over the next few weeks we will be launching an Ehealth newsletter that will promote a wide range of innovative and excellent resources for both programs.


Today as part of our ongoing series NACCHO presents the concept of TELEHEALTH kiosks, that could be a low cost affordable solution for our ACCH’s servicing remote communities. In the USA they only cost US$10,000

In America walk-in kiosks for retail settings are coming and promise to deliver healthcare on the spot via telemedicine.

HealthSpot is part of a wave of upcoming small, walk-in telemedicine kiosk designed to deliver access to high-quality healthcare in retail stores and other non-traditional settings.


Healthcare Kiosks are Coming

The video explains the premise in more detail:

Soon after we came across the LifeBot 5 portable emergency room a closely related effort was brought to our attention.

Focusing this time on traditional doctor’s visits, HealthSpot is a small, walk-in telemedicine kiosk designed to deliver access to high-quality healthcare in retail stores and other non-traditional settings.

Recognizing the additional strain that will be placed on the healthcare system as some 40 million more Americans become insured under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Ohio-based HealthSpot aims to increase access to high quality, convenient and affordable healthcare by expanding beyond the walls of the traditional doctor’s office.

Specifically, the company’s new HealthSpot Station walk-in kiosks offer an alternative via high-definition videoconferencing and telehealth tools.

So, rather than wait in line at a doctor’s office or urgent care clinic, patients will be able to visit the closest HealthSpot Station and talk with a board-certified doctor via video conferencing. Inside each 10-foot kiosk are a scale and television dashboard as well as a variety of common medical tools, according to a TechCrunch report.

The remotely located doctor guides the patient as he or she uses the stethoscope and other tools for gathering data about various vital signs, which are then displayed graphically.

An attendant is always on hand to help check the patient in and offer help when necessary, and a combination of automatic and manual cleaning procedures keep sanitization levels even higher than those of a traditional doctor’s office, the company says.

Targeted locations include retail sites such as grocery stores, urgent care facilities, emergency rooms, doctor’s offices, specialist offices, rural areas, campuses, developing nations and even large businesses, “Where employees could walk down the hall and see a doctor in 20 minutes instead of taking half a day off from work,” HealthSpot explains.

HealthSpot unveiled its kiosks at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. Currently, it’s pilot-testing its concept in Ohio urgent care clinics and a children’s hospital. Pricing on the stations will reportedly be between $10,000 and $15,000; patients will pay $60-80 per visit.

Healthcare entrepreneurs: one to get involved in?

Spotted by: Murtaza Patel

From our friends at Springwise

The apology 5 years on anniversary speech :was it a landmark moment in our history?



Sydney 8 February:Minister Jenny Macklin MP

I would like to pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting this morning, and to their elders past and present.

Thank you Donna (Ms Donna Ingram) for your warm welcome to country.

Members of the Stolen Generations and other distinguished guests here this morning.

I would like to pay a particular tribute to Michael (McLeod) for organising this breakfast each year to mark the National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, in particular the Stolen Generations.

The Apology was a landmark moment in our history.

One of those rare moments when we all remember exactly where we were at the precise time the long awaited words were said.

We remember who we hugged.

And who we cried with.

The power of that moment – the words and the sentiments – are enduring.

This is the great achievement of the Apology.

A deep ongoing commitment across the nation to ensure that the profound sorrow expressed on that day leads to an honest understanding and a brighter future.

On behalf of the nation that day, Kevin Rudd apologised for the forcible removal of children.

For the loss of families, communities and culture.

We know that loss cannot be made up.

But we can make sure that it never happens again.

And we can make sure that we never forget.

Five years on from that landmark day, we now have dedicated resources to ensure just that.

The Stolen Generations Testimonies website and the National Library’s Oral History Project both contain personal stories from survivors.

I commend these two sites to all to better understand the pain and suffering inflicted on generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

To better understand the loss of people torn away from their culture and their communities.

To better understand why we had to say sorry.

Why we were sorry then.

And why the healing continues now.

As Debra Hocking, one of the Stolen Generations Survivors, says:

For us to heal as a country these are the stories we need to share.

The healing happens through practical activities as well.

On the first Anniversary of the Apology, the Government set up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

We committed more than $26 million to support the Foundation in community based healing initiatives to address the traumatic legacies of past mistakes.

I am pleased that representatives of the Foundation are here today and I commend their work.

Five years ago, we also set up a comprehensive process, a national plan, to close the gap.

To work for change that means future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lead healthier, longer and better lives.

This week, the Prime Minister tabled the latest Closing the Gap report in Parliament.

And we received some very encouraging news.

The first of our targets will be reached this year – meaning more four year olds in remote communities have access to pre-school or kindergarten.

Giving them the chance at a stronger start in life.

So that they can start school ready to learn.

Many of you here would already know my passion for ensuring we are providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with a great education.

That we are supporting children to go to school every day.

And I know that many of you, members of the Stolen Generations, who did not have the opportunity for a great education, share my passion.

We know that sustained change will take time.

We know that the situation in many areas of Indigenous disadvantage remains critical.

But our shared resolve is making a difference.

And as we continue our journey of healing, we work to right another omission.

To recognise the unique and special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation’s constitution.

As Stolen Generations member and amazing song writer Archie Roach said recently on Q&A:

When the Constitution was drawn up it never included Aboriginals and we’re still not included in the Constitution.

Until that is addressed, we truly can’t go forward as a people, as a nation and as Australians as a whole.

I agree that it is wrong that the nation’s foundation document is silent on this vital part of our culture.

And our Government is committed to meaningful constitutional reform, that recognizes the hopes and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Of course, we know that constitutional change in Australia is no easy matter.

It’s why we are calling on the spirit of 1967 to build the necessary support for constitutional change.

So that we once again see passionate Australians sharing the message of change across the community.

As a step towards a successful referendum, we expect the Australian Parliament to soon pass the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill.

This Bill recognises the unique place of Indigenous Australians.

It contains a sunset clause to provide an impetus for a future parliament to reassess how the campaign for change is travelling and when the time is right to hold a successful referendum.

The Bill of Recognition builds on the enormous good will for positive change unleashed by the Apology.

It builds on the sense of togetherness we experience as a nation on the 13th of February five years ago.

A togetherness we demonstrated as perhaps at no other time in our history.

A new-found mutual respect.

To mark this fifth anniversary more than 150 community organisations around Australia will celebrate as we are this morning.

They will be paying tribute to the Stolen Generations.

For their courage and their resilience.

As the Testimonials website says, many are still finding their way home.

I would like to thank the Healing Foundation for its work in organising these community anniversary functions to recognise their ongoing journey.

The Foundation theme this year is Heal Our Past, Build Our Future.

This is the true mission of the Apology.

To heal our past and build our future.

I commit myself and our Government to this ongoing task.

Thank you.

Good news story about Roy and an update on Telehealth- the New Bush Telegraph


Staff changes NACCHO ehealth and Telehealth

Roy Monaghan (pictured above) began work with NACCHO as the National Telehealth Delivery Officer in October 2011.

Roy will shortly be taking over the role of ehealth program manager as Rachael Giacarri moves on from this position.

While there have been some challenges to the program progression and the E Health rollout nationally, the project will continue to forge ahead in the coming months.

NACCHO wishes to thank Rachael Giacarri for her work on this project and wishes her well on future endeavors

Real stories of real people who are working to deliver better health outcomes for Aboriginal people

Prior to NACCHO, Roy worked since 2009 for the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Professional Accounting Degrees and has a passion for improving Indigenous health through Aboriginal self determination and well functioning community controlled organisations delivery effective primary health care to the people.

He firmly believes that ‘closing the gap’ is something that will be achieved with, and though the hard work and perseverance of the people working in Aboriginal community controlled health services throughout the country and is something that he wants to be part of.

Roy looks forward to supporting a regular Ehealth/Telehealth Newsletter

The New Bush Telegraph: Telehealth for Rural and Remote Practice

The Rural Health Education Foundation will be broadcasting a live panel discussion and a documentary on telehealth next Tuesday, 29th January.

 The documentary will showcase stories from clinicians and patients who have been using telehealth for a while and the impact this technology is having for patients in rural and remote Australia accessing treatment and the primary healthcare teams involved. Two key stories include:

Spanning the Torres Strait: A Telehealth Story – how the Diabetes Centre at the Cairns Base Hospital QLD runs telehealth consultations across Far North Queensland, Cape York and the Torres Strait.

The case study features Prof Ashim Sinha, Debi Deans, Dr Samuel Jones and a number of other interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and patients.

Townsville linking with Mt Isa – Mt Isa in north west Queensland is one of the regions connected to Townsville via telehealth.  Without these links, patients have to travel sometimes for days, to see the specialist.

Shaun Solomon, Head of Indigenous Student’s Network at MICRRH shares his story of his mother’s oncology treatment through telehealth consultants and how the reduction of travel whilst undergoing treatment has had such a positive impact on her and her family’s well-being.

The panel will discuss myths and misunderstandings; what they wish someone had told them when they were starting and the difference it is making to their practice and to their patients.

The panel include: Ms Carol Bennett – CEO, Consumers Health Forum; Prof Isabelle EllisProfessor of Nursing: Rural and Regional Practice Development, University of Tasmania; Dr Ewen McPhee – General Practitioner, Emerald QLD; Dr Sabe Sabesan – Director of Medical Oncology, Townsville Hospital QLD; Ms Di Thornton – Director of Nursing, Pinnaroo Hospital SA; and Dr Angus Turner – Ophthalmologist, Lions Eye Institute, Nedlands WA (via video teleconference).

Tuesday 29th January 2013
Rural Health Channel (VAST Channel 600) OR
Register to view the online webcast

NSW, ACT, TAS & VIC; 7.30pm SA, 7.00pm QLD, 6.30pm NT; 5.00pm WA

Stories from The New Bush Telegraph: The Impact of Telehealth documentary will be broadcast half an hour prior to the live panel discussion.

CPD Accredited: RACGP Cat 2 (2 points), ACRRM (1 point)

Visit the Foundation’s Telehealth webpage for more detailed information.

Aboriginal community case study (resent with new link): Northern Territory integrates PCEHRs with telehealth

The Northern Territory is demonstrating its nation leading ehealth work with a new video showcasing the integration of telehealth consultations with shared electronic health records (PCEHR) in Aboriginal communities.


As published December 2012


Bridging the Digital Divide presents the care journey of a person in a remote community requiring a mixture of primary and secondary care for a serious injury.

Making use of the Territory’s My eHealth Record and its “Health eTowns” Telehealth Program, the patient receives treatment from a remote area nurse with real time clinical review and advice remotely from a doctor and a specialist burns nurse in Darwin over the course of their infirmity.

Speaking with, the NT Dept of Health’s Director of strategic ehealth systems, Jackie Plunkett, explained the importance of using shared care records in conjunction with telehealth. “The two go hand in hand. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have one without the other because when combined they make a powerful service delivery mechanism.”


The My eHealth Record has demonstrated the value of an EHR system once it reaches critical mass, with approximately 50,000 patients registered and clinicians using the system a rate of 30,000 patient record views per month.

Additionally, over two thirds of these views take place in a primary care setting, helping to take pressure of the hospital system.

By comparison Ms Plunkett said the telehealth program is still in its early stages, but even so it is now being used in 47 remote communities, all regional hospitals in the Territory plus six hospitals in the WA Kimberley region.

“It’s a growing field. Some of the services commonly performed at remote clinics with the use of telehealth include pre-admission and post surgical assessments. Renal reviews are also being introduced at the moment.”

Ms Plunkett said another important aspect for the indigenous community of both telehealth and the My eHealth Record is the ability to treat people with dignity and cultural sensitivity.

This can be particularly important in the healthcare setting where the urgency of a situation can make communication difficult for a patient having to deal with linguistic and cultural differences, she said.

“My eHealth Record has been a great cultural fit, hence its widespread adoption. And the uptake of telehealth thus far in remote communities has likewise been incredible.”

For further infomation about

NACCHO eHealth


Bridging the Digital Divide has been produced by the Northern Territory Government Department of Health with additional funding from the federal Digital Regions Initiative.

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