Telehealth training future professionals

$4.2 million in telehealth training facilities will be built at La Trobe University, to ensure best-practice training for allied health and nursing students, and better equip clinicians undertaking professional development.

La Trobe will contribute $2.6 million to the project, with $1.6 million coming from the Victorian Government, as part of the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF).

The Government’s contribution was announced today by the Minister for Higher Education and Minister for Training and Skills, the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP.

The project also includes establishing hi-tech mobile telehealth hardware, enabling high-quality training to be provided across the state, including in rural and regional areas.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said it is critical that the next generation of healthcare workers feel prepared to utilise this this rapidly growing mode of healthcare delivery.

“Over the last 18 months, telehealth has moved from being a novel approach, to being business-as-usual for doctors, hospitals and community healthcare providers,” Professor Dewar said.

“It’s important that, when our students enter the workforce, they are equipped to respond to client needs in a caring, professional manner, regardless of where that person is physically located.”

“This initiative will also give rural and regional Australians better access to high-quality health services,” Professor Dewar said.

Professor Dewar said the facilities will also benefit healthcare professionals already employed across the state.

“As telehealth as a common practice is relatively new, there are few practical training opportunities for existing practitioners, so this is a tangible way that we can support the community,” Professor Dewar said.

The Hon. Gayle Tierney MP said: “Healthcare delivery has changed – especially during the pandemic – and we want to ensure Victorians continue to have easy access to high-quality services.”

“This is a great initiative that will ensure Victorian students learn skills that are relevant now and into the future – securing a highly skilled local healthcare workforce.”

The refurbishment of the clinical teaching spaces at La Trobe’s Bundoora and Bendigo campuses will include:

  • Improvements to room acoustics, lighting and networking
  • A telehealth AV setup including microphone, cameras, display screens and computers
  • Technology to stream or record video for larger groups of students or professionals
  • Mobile telehealth hardware to allow for high-quality offsite telehealth consultations (e.g. at schools, community facilities or health services)

As part of the initiative, La Trobe University researchers will conduct research to improve the evidence base underpinning best-practice telehealth – including exploring which health conditions and presentations are appropriate for telehealth.