Over the last 18 months, services across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) have embraced technology to overcome barriers and ensure patient care continues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
62-year-old Wilma Brocktoff is one of thousands of western Sydney residents who have used telehealth to attend appointments with her clinicians.
The Seven Hills resident has chronic diabetes and is currently working with Western Sydney Diabetes’ (WSD) Mt Druitt Community Diabetes Clinic to manage her insulin levels.
“In the middle of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, I was too scared to leave the house in fear I might catch the virus,’ Wilma shared.
“But I knew I couldn’t miss one of my appointments – and telehealth allowed me to attend them from the comfort of my home.
“The team there make it so easy. They got my GP involved in the consult to ensure the information was being relayed correctly and to discuss the management of my diabetes.
“I had such a good experience and would happily continue using telehealth appointments!”
The Mt Druitt Community Diabetes Clinic was established in June 2020 to help manage people living with complex Type 2 diabetes in Mount Druitt and Blacktown as well as enhance the skills of local GPs in managing their patients and reduce hospital waiting lists.
Community diabetes transitional nurse practitioner Anandhi (Ana) Murugesan said the clinic was running telehealth consultations since opening due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.
“We never could have imagined we would be running virtually, but as the opening date came closer, we realised if we want to help these patients and provide them the best quality care, we would have to embrace telehealth as the new norm,” Ana said.
“Currently, all appointments are run virtually, but when safe to do so, we will be giving patients the option to come back into the clinic and consult face-to-face.”
Ana said that many patients prefer the telehealth option due to the convenience and flexibility.
“We see patients who have chronic diabetes and require regular appointments – for them, going virtual saves them multiple trips to the clinic because they can take their appointment from home.
“If patients are hesitant to join a telehealth appointment because of their technical skill level, we offer to do a practice session prior to their appointment to make sure they are comfortable and able to log in.
“We live in a world where technology is so accessible, and that is not going to change when the pandemic ends – I truly believe telehealth is here to stay, and we should all embrace it!”
The Mt Druitt Community Diabetes Clinic is a continual collaborative effort from Blacktown Hospital and the Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) team.
This week is Telehealth Awareness Week – an annual event that highlights and reinforces the central role that telehealth now plays in the delivery of healthcare, allowing clinicians and patients to connect virtually, ensuring access to excellent healthcare.
Are you a clinician? WSD runs Diabetes Case Conferences (DCC) which usually include a GP, the patient, a hospital specialist, and a Credentialed Diabetes Educator, and is held using NSW Health’s myVirtualCare platform.Learn more about the benefits of getting involved in a case conference with WSD. To find out more, click here.