M BROWN1, S THOMAS1, C PERRY1 , D FERNANDES1, S CHERIAN1, B PAWAR1, S NAYAR1, P GEORGE1, S KODGIRE1
1Alice Springs Hospital, Alice Springs, Australia
Aim: To develop and review a dedicated telenephrology service in Central Australia
Background: The Central Australia Health Service (CAHS) covers a large geographical area with many remote communities. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is common and care on country is a priority. In 2018, a dedicated renal telehealth service was developed and in 2020 we sought to evaluate this service.
Methods: Clinic data on demographics, attendance and stage of CKD has been kept. In the review, data from the dedicated telehealth clinic (DTC) was compared to face to face clinics. In addition, surveys were sent to patients, remote medical practitioners (RMPs) and clinic staff in 2020. Patients were invited to provide feedback to clinic staff immediately after their appointment. Clinic staff and RMPs were invited to provide feedback via an online survey.
Results: Between October 2018 and December 2020 there were 748 appointments in the DTC for patients in over 40 remote communities. Attendance rates for the DTC were significantly higher than for the face to face outpatient department (OPD) clinic and other telehealth appointments (51.2%, 37.8%, and 27.8% respectively p<0.01). Attendance rate to a clinic at the local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) was similar (50% vs 51.2%, p=0.71). Response rate for surveys was low with 15.6% of patients, 27.5% of clinic staff and 35.1% of RMPs providing feedback. Feedback received was overwhelmingly positive
Conclusion: Attendance rates to DTC were higher than the OPD clinic and other telehealth appointments, but similar to the local AMS. Despite a low survey response rate, it appears that the service was well received.
Dr Megan Brown is a nephrologist working for the Central Australia Health Service. She has been based in Alice Springs for four years. She has always been passionate about rural and remote medicine. She has a special interest in partnering with primary care and CKD care on country.