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Date posted: 26 August 2013
Debbie Mundy, a diabetic and Aboriginal health worker living in Armidale, northern New South Wales (NSW) was one of 50 people to recently take part in a National Broadband Network (NBN) telehealth trial for chronic diseases.
The trial enabled participants to monitor their blood sugar from the comfort of their own home, instead of needing to visit a General Practitioner (GP), which often involves extensive travel, waiting periods and significant cost; all of which have been identified as barriers to Indigenous people receiving adequate health care.
Nurses with the telehealth trial, funded by the state and federal governments, set up the equipment at Ms Mundy's home, and explained how it works. She received a tablet computer, glucometer, a pulse oximeter (to monitor oxygen levels and heart rate) and blood pressure monitor.
Ms Mundy says the NBN has 'really changed my life', reporting that her blood sugar levels have reduced significantly and that she is feeling very well.
Armidale Community Health's Coralie Wales, who is the project leader, is pleased with the results of the trial, and would like to engage the Indigenous community to take part in more trials, such as a new cancer-related telehealth pilot.
'We're really trying to work with our Aboriginal community now for the best way to help feel comfortable about it because our project team needs to understand the experience of cancer for Aboriginal people,' Dr Wales said.
A report on the chronic diseases trial is due in the next few months. Dr Wales hopes the processes can be implemented elsewhere so other patients can benefit from the NBN.
Source: The Australian