Swinburne University will embed telehealth software in its classrooms, clinics and research centres by partnering with Data61 offshoot Coviu, the pair revealed today.
Students studying a wide array of health-related courses and the wider community will now have the opportunity to become familiar with remote health delivery systems before entering practice in anticipation of wider adoption of the technology in the near future.
Although health video health consultations are touted as a way to cheaply bring healthcare access to remote communities, it can be a struggle for health practitioners to connect with patients to the same extent as an in-person consultation.
Academic director of Digital Health and Informatics at Swinburne, Dr Mark Merolli, said the health system needs graduates who comfortable using remote consultation technology to fully realise its capabilities.
Coviu’s platform can be used in a variety of clinical and research settings, and features interactive whiteboards for image display and annotation - handy for showing patients their x-rays or scans and explaining what’s going on in them.
The telehealth software is also compatible with artificial intelligence-based image analysis tools which have been involved in trials to automatically detect cancer cells or predict a patient’s range of movement.
“Having our students prepared for a workforce where healthcare is increasingly delivered remotely is imperative and something that is at the core of digital health’s future in Australia,” Merolli said.
“Health and digital technology go hand in hand, and this partnership reflects Swinburne’s commitment to being a leader in digital health and our passion for innovation in all aspects of teaching, training and research.”
Coviu’s chief executive and co-founder, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, said an estimated 80 percent of clinician visits could be provided through telehealth platforms “with comparable clinical outcomes”.
“We’ve worked hard to make our telehealth technology simple to use for both patients and providers, however it’s absolutely essential that the next generation of medical professionals are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to make online consultations as effective as possible. Our partnership with Swinburne will ensure that this process takes place.
“Beyond geographical constraints, there’s often a stigma attached to seeking support for certain health services; for example, mental health. However, for many people, this disappears when they can do it from the comfort and privacy of their own home.”
Swinburne will embed Coviu into the curriculum for students studying nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, health science, teleaudiology, and digital health and informatics.