27.05.2020 10:48 Age: 124 days

Remote Aboriginal community digitally connected to metro medical experts

WACHS staff and Board members with Health Minister Roger Cook on VC to Bidyadanga Health Clinic.

  • Western Australia's largest remote Aboriginal community receives access to specialist care at the touch of a button
  • WACHS facilitates trial access to its Command Centre - providing Bidyadanga Health Clinic with around-the-clock ability to consult with medical specialists in the metropolitan area 

For the first time, patients in Bidyadanga - Western Australia's largest remote Aboriginal community - have access to medical specialists in the metropolitan area at the touch of a button thanks to a partnership between the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS).

The partnership, which involves a 12-month trial of connection of the KAMS-run Bidyadanga Health Clinic to the WACHS Command Centre, has already seen specialist emergency care accessed 28 times in the first five months.

Having access to the WACHS Command Centre enables KAMS clinicians to connect with Perth-based medical specialists almost instantly via videoconferencing equipment, assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

The 12-month trial is expected to provide a better understanding of the logistics, benefits and costs of delivering digital health services into more remote WA communities.

With medical specialists on high-definition speed dial, local frontline clinicians can deliver healthcare when and where it is needed, keeping patients within their communities and closer to family and support.

Located 180 kilometres south of Broome, Bidyadanga is home to a 750-strong population that often swells to over 1,000 with transient visitors.

Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:

"This initiative is all about putting patients first by using technology to help keep people on country."The WACHS Command Centre is now working with KAMS to provide the State's largest remote Aboriginal community with access to metropolitan medical specialists on country and close to friends and family.

"This initiative was first raised with me at the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector Conference last year so it is wonderful to see this grow into a pilot which is already seeing fantastic results."

Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:

"This new service is an important health initiative for WA's largest remote community.

"It will deliver first-class medical expertise to people living in Bidyadanga and help save lives. 

"I'm hopeful the trial will give us greater insight into the logistics, benefits and costs of delivering digital health services to more remote communities in the future."

Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer:

"This service is vital so the people in Bidyadanga can have access to medical specialists without having to leave the community.

"It's crucial that WACHS continues to work closely with organisations like KAMS to provide timely, culturally safe and secure quality health services in our Aboriginal communities."  

Health Minister's office - 6552 6500

Aboriginal Affairs Minister's office - 6552 5900