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IMPROVING RURAL HEALTH OUTCOMES THROUGH RESEARCH
Understanding the unique health challenges of people living, working and studying in rural areas is crucial to making sure we receive the healthcare we need. As the healthcare landscape continues to change and the needs of the population changes, it’s essential that our community’s needs are constantly studied and advocated for so that we get the right care, the right services and fit-for-purpose funding. One of the ways we do this is through research.
Why research? Research helps us to improve health and reduce inequalities. Through research we can learn what determines our health, why people become unwell and how we can prevent disease. Research allows us to investigate the best treatment and care for people who are ill. Research also lets us understand the best models of care for our communities, so people get the right care at the right time in the right place.
RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE
In Australia, wounds are a silent but important cause of poor health in our community. An estimated 400,000 Australians in hospitals or residential aged care facilities have a chronic wound. Providing adequate wound care faces several challenges such as the availability and experience of nursing staff in aged care, access to specialist wound care and impaired resident mobility. These challenges are further compounded in rural and remote locations such as Dubbo, Orange and our Western and Far West NSW communities by specialist workforce shortages and the distances people need to travel to receive care.
The School of Rural Health Associate Professor Georgina
Luscombe is the Chief Investigator on a collaborative project called “Woundview” that has been funded by the Federal Government to develop a suite of digital tools that will provide a one stop shop for clinicians caring for wounds. One of the notable features will be mobile imaging powered by artificial intelligence (AI), allowing practitioners to remotely analyse and monitor wounds over time. It will also allow clinicians to process and estimate vital sign metrics such as a patient’s heart and respiratory rate from a video feed.
The technology will be trialled throughout residential aged care facilities across Victoria and NSW; including the engagement of trial sites in our Western and Far West NSW communities. The Project will officially commence in early 2022 with the product set to be made available within the Coviu telehealth platform in 2026.
WESTERN NSW HEALTH RESEARCH NETWORK (WHRN) RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM AND AWARDS
The 2022 WHRN Research Symposium is on the 24-25 October, in Dubbo. Each year the event showcases excellent rural health research. This year’s theme is Interweaving the threads: tying rural health policy to rural health research” and researchers are invited to submit abstracts to present their research. There is also an open abstract category, to encourage broader community involvement at the Symposium. This is designed for rural services, organisations, community members, Elders, advocates to showcase their work, ideas, reflections, and stories about rural health. Individuals can share lived experiences and changes needed in health services.
You can now submit your abstract to be included in the Symposium.