The NEViHN will bolster the existing rural, regional and remote (RRR) healthcare network and facilitate a pipeline of students entering its workforce. Many areas in the New England North West have lower ratios of general practitioners relative to the population and a lower percentage of general practice attendances per person than the Australian average1. Enhancing the rural, regional and remote health workforce is a priority of the NSW and Australian Governments.
The NEViHN will support a larger, better equipped rural health workforce. With studies showing that participation in an extended rural clinical school placement is strongly associated with students entering rural practice2, the NEViHN’s rural placements will facilitate a larger New England North West health workforce.
Through integrated streamlined information and communications technology infrastructure and digital platforms, the NEViHN will provide dynamic healthcare delivery across dispersed locations via the JVCC network.
The JVCC will support clinicians from Armidale and Tamworth, and other externally based specialists to deliver telehealth services to people across New England North West through NSW Health’s My Virtual Care*. The facilities will be staffed by a permanent doctor and senior nurse. At the core of the network will be improved information and communications technology, and internet connections for hospitals, General Practice clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services to support live streaming, recording, online discussions and other forms of communication and telehealth across dispersed geographic locations.
The NEViHN will use a digital platform for integrating various elements, such as virtual patients, SimMan 3G, relevant application software, actors and real-world patients, and a student participation space. This will include virtual reality technology designed in conjunction with a technology partner, as well as electronic devices in each facility to capture interactions with patients.
Resilient healthcare models providing integrated and connected services delivered at a local level are required to support communities in the face of various pressures.
The NEViHN will integrate existing technology and information and communication technology platforms of NSW Health and Hunter New England Local Health District to streamline clinician utilisation across General Practice clinics, Aboriginal Medical Services, hospitals and patients in their own home. For example, the NEViHN will leverage the NSW Health’s eHealth (My Virtual Care) program (provided under licence from NSW Health / Hunter New England Local Health District) across numerous facilities. Education via the network will prepare students for working in telehealth and in a rural NSW Health context. Hospitals, Aboriginal Medical Services and General Practice clinics will have access to training packages from our partners and be offered clinical teaching programs by UNE to build their capability in telehealth as part of the program.
1 AIHW 2018, sourced from Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network, HNECC PHN Health Planning Compass, Erina, 2018.
2 Associated with rural practice in the first three to five years of practice for graduates; J May, L Brown, J Burrows, In-Place Training: Optimizing Rural Health Workforce Outcomes through Rural-Based Education in Australia, Education Sciences, 2018.