A DOCTOR who worked at Julia Creek Hospital 40 years ago will make a “virtual’’ return to his old stamping ground on Friday thanks to the use of modern technology.
Dr Errol Maguire, who was once the Medical Superintendent at Julia Creek Hospital – now the McKinlay Shire Multi-Purpose Health Service (MPHS) – is Professor of Surgery at Griffith University’s Southport campus.
But he will make a virtual return to Julia Creek through an innovative three-way telehealth linkup between the McKinlay Shire MPHS, the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane and Griffith University at Southport on the Gold Coast.
McKinlay Shire MPHS Acting Director of Nursing Karen Thorne said the three-way linkup had been designed as a training exercise for third and fourth-year medical students to familiarise them with the use of telehealth and how to assess a patient remotely.
Ms Thorne said Dr Maguire and around 300 medical students from a number of universities would be located at Griffith University’s Southport campus auditorium.
They will watch on a big screen while orthopaedic specialist Dr John North at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane conducts a remote consultation with a pretend patient at the McKinlay Shire MPHS.
The auditorium screen will be split so the students simultaneously can watch Dr North at Princess Alexandra and the patient scenario unfolding at the McKinlay Shire MPHS.
“The scenario on Friday is for the benefit of the medical students so they can see how to assess a patient with a fracture via telehealth,’’ Ms Thorne said.
“We are organising one of the local mothers who is also an employee at the hospital to bring in one of her children for the scenario,” she said.
“We will place a collar and cuff on the child’s arm and pretend that she has a fracture.
“Dr North feels doing an actual mock scenario will benefit the students more in learning how to visually assess a patient via telehealth, than just speaking about it in the lecture room.’’
Dr North, who runs the fracture clinic at Princess Alexandra Hospital, said he often conducted telehealth consultations from the hospital with real patients at Mount Isa and Julia Creek.
“That’s what gave me the idea of doing a mock consultation with Julia Creek for the benefit of the students,’’ he said.
Dr North said he and Dr Maguire were involved in a specialised training program called Surgical Teaching for Acute Illness and Injury Recognition for Students.
“This mock consultation is part of that program,’’ he said.
“The three-way linkup between Southport, the PA and Julia Creek will give students a fairly realistic view of how telehealth can be used to break down the barriers of distance and allow patients in rural and remote areas to have access to specialist medical services remotely.
“It’s a great tool for the medical profession and one that will be used more and more in the future.’’
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