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TeleStrong Delivers Allied Health To Aged Care Remotely

January 15, 2013 | Telepresence Options


Written by Kate McDonald, Pulse ItShare

Allied health services provider HealthStrong has launched a new telehealth service to provide healthcare by video conference to the aged care industry.

HealthStrong has provided allied health services such as physiotherapy and podiatry to residential aged care facilities for over a decade under the company's former name Clinicall. It has now branched out into providing some of those services through its telehealth arm TeleStrong, as well as setting up CareStrong for the community care sector.

TeleStrong's operations manager, Tiffany Chaisson, said the company currently provided physiotherapy, dietetics and diversional therapy services by video conferencing, and has also developed a remote speech pathology program. A remote wound care service is in the works, as is a remote palliative care program.

Mrs Chaisson said the service was launched in response to the common problem of accessing allied healthcare professionals in rural and remote areas, but even in outer metropolitan areas and regional centres there was a problem, she said.

"The health system for aged care facilities isn't great at times," she said. "Every area is very different - one can have one RN shared between three facilities because that is all they can get, and others have lots of RNs but limited access to GPs.

"TeleStrong came about from attending various conferences where there were always a lot of requests from rural and remote areas saying they need podiatrists or they can't get a dietitian. Our management decided to launch TeleStrong and with the sign-on incentive for video conferencing, we thought why can't we use video conferencing to provide the allied medical services they want remotely."

The federal government's onboard incentive is currently $4800, which Mrs Chaisson said was enough to cover the equipment required. TeleStrong uses a web-based video conferencing system to facilitate the video conferencing.

"We have signed a contract with the service provider so the aged care facilities don't have to have their own software," Mrs Chaisson said. "The video conferencing software is hosted on a private, secure, dedicated cloud, so all they do is log in to our licence so they don't have to pay licence fees or anything. They just have to get onto a computer with an internet connection."

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