Technology is at the HEART of healthcare

IT helps build community health

At a time when most IT professionals were retreating to remote workplaces, local IT experts Smikteck were hitting the road to support Aboriginal health care provider, Awabakal, to provide remote vaccination clinics and 12 months on, they are ready to share their lessons learnt with other medical services.

Smikteck Director Michael Stafford says the pandemic changed the way health care was provided and IT was fundamental to this change.

“Lots of industries had to pivot how they provided their services during the pandemic, and medical and health services were no exception. We had only been working with Awabakal Ltd for a short amount of time when we got the call to help them.

“It’s one thing to pack up your supplies and set them up again in another building, it’s quite another to have the same access to all of your patient records on the road.”

Instead of trying to troubleshoot issues from a help desk, the Smikteck team joined forces with the health professionals and became an integral part of the clinic set up and service delivery.

“Awabakal Ltd came to us with a challenge. They provide medical services to an Aboriginal community of over 8000 patients. The solution was to provide pop-up vaccination clinics in local communities throughout the Hunter but to do this, the pop-ups needed to have the same, secure technology available as a normal medical clinic –- and system downtime needed to be minimal.”

Scott Adams, Chief Operations Officer for Awabakal Ltd says ensuring the pop-up clinics ran smoothly was critical.

“We had an urgent need to take our services to our community. The setup of the infrastructure had to be seamless and reduce the boundaries to getting people through the clinic as smoothly as possible. This absolutely relied on secure technology.

Prior to working with Michael and his team, we had experienced a lot of IT downtime which meant some of our medical clinics had to close with no notice and dozens of appointments had to be rescheduled. We couldn’t afford for this to happen with the pop-up clinics, so when the IT team agreed to come on the road we were confident of a successful outcome.”

“Fast forward almost 12 months and we have a model that we can roll out at any time to meet the needs of the Hunter’s Aboriginal community.

Smikteck have put together these tips for being prepared to provide mobile health services

  • Minimise your down time

Being able to access patient data when you need it is a key part in achieving good patient outcomes. Speedy access to records makes every health care worker’s job so much easier and provides a much better experience for patients.

  • Set up secure remote access to patient files

A pandemic is just one reason for making sure you have secure, remote access to patient data. Australia is a country of extremes with natural disasters all too common. Implementing secure remote access standards ensures that all patient data is accessible both in clinics and remotely while remaining secure and compliant with all legislative requirements.

  • Better patient experience

Patients often travel long distances for appointments, so you don’t want technology problems to result in lengthy wait times or clinic closures at short notice. Stable and secure IT systems save time, and keeping appointments on-time improves patient outcomes and attendance rates.

  • Better communication and connection to patients and community

For Telehealth, connections between various medical data records and government reporting systems allow comprehensive medical assessments for every patient no matter where they are.

  • Remote patient care

Pop-up vaccination clinics are just the start. Using secure systems to access medical information means health care providers have the capability to deliver mobile, outreach and pop up clinics in remote areas, as well as deliver aged care, out of home care assessments and manage community transport services with access to systems from anywhere.

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