Emerald Hospital switches on to new telehealth cardiology service
23 October 2019
Emerald Hospital has introduced a free telehealth-based Exercise Stress Test and Holter Monitoring service, saving patients having to travel for these cardiology services.
The service was established thanks to Queensland Health’s Clinical Excellence Division and in partnership with Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Tele-Cardiac Investigations Unit.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death globally, and remote areas of Queensland have statistically higher rates of mortality from coronary heart disease than the state average, by about 25%.
Emerald Hospital Director of Nursing Claire Letts said about 35 patients a month from the Central Highlands accessed patient travel for cardiology services.
“The new telehealth clinic aims to improve patient access to health care; reduce travel cost and inconvenience for patients, families, carers and health professionals, and provide health professionals with access to peer support and education through the use of digital technology,” Ms Letts said.
Diagnostic quality exercise stress test results are available within a few minutes of the test completion and reports are sent to the referring doctor within minutes.
This new service enables timely access to contemporary specialist services for Central Highlands residents and is in line with CQ Health’s mission to provide more care closer to home. The Holter monitoring service will start in November.
Emerald’s nurse-led service is conducted via video-conference with senior cardiac scientists and cardiology registrars from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Cardiac Investigations Unit.
Referrals are accepted from hospitals, clinics and general practitioners throughout the Central Highlands, with services provided at no cost to the patient.
Emerald’s first patient to try the service, Shannon Knapman, said it was a wonderful facility for the community, and saved a lot of time and travel expense. Her test went without a hitch.
“The convenience of being able to do this test at a local hospital close to home takes the stress out of driving to Rockhampton,” she said.
“The nurses were great, and telehealth link up to Brisbane was fantastic. I had someone monitoring me at all times and being able to get the results straight away from the cardiac doctors was a huge relief.”
Clinical Nurse Tammy Peters with Shannon Knapman, the first patient to use Emerald’s new telehealth exercise stress test service