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Free online course to help rural doctors offer telehealth services

University aims to support health professionals in moving away from reliance on face-to-face consultations

Charles Sturt University is providing a free online telehealth course for doctors, nurses and oral health workers across rural New South Wales.

The course will help rural health professionals adapt to increased restrictions on face-to-face patient consultations during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Australian Medical Association has called for an increased adoption of telehealth services across the country to reduce the risk of infection for medical staff. However, many rural health workers in remote locations do not have access to training or technical help to guide participation in a telehealth network. 

The university is offering the course through its department of rural health at regional campuses in Albury, Dubbo, Griffith, Orange and Wagga Wagga. More than 400 rural health practitioners have enrolled so far.

Jacki Mansfield, a rural health service coordinator based at the Albury campus, said the free course was intended to help health professionals include telehealth consultations in their practice.

She said the course was designed as an introduction to telehealth and included a range of interactive opportunities, patient scenarios, online resources and guides based on current health system practice for acute and chronic care. 

“Telehealth is recognised as a growing adjunct to health service delivery, especially in rural areas. It is expected that all health professionals, and students graduating from health courses, should be familiar with the opportunities and challenges of telehealth services,” the course website says.