Give telehealth a go

A young man stands in a corridor.
Rockingham General Hospital endocrinologist Dr Ken Thong
October 28, 2019

Kidney disease patient Schalk Swanepoel has embraced his telehealth sessions with Rockingham General Hospital (RGH) endocrinologist Dr Ken Thong – in fact, he prefers them to visiting the clinic.

With reduced kidney capacity from having had diabetes since he was aged eight, Schalk – now 27 – is a shining example of how telehealth can make life easier for patients and doctors. 

Before using telehealth, Schalk had to travel to either RGH or Fiona Stanley Hospital from his home in Bunbury and would struggle to make other appointments.

Now he finds it very easy to have a real time video conference appointment with Ken on his smart phone from the convenience of his own home while receiving home dialysis.

“When I have an appointment at 10am I can see Dr Thong at 10am,” Schalk said.

“There is no difference in the care I receive – the only thing that is a little bit different is that I don’t have to travel to the clinic and spend time in the waiting room.”

Ken said he found the technology seamless to use.

“I can provide the same level of care without the need for my patients to travel,” Ken said.

“I encourage all health professionals to give telehealth a go.”

This Telehealth Awareness Week (26 to 30 October), South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) is promoting the benefits of delivering care via technology.

SMHS Telehealth Coordinator Josh Sacks said staff traditionally used telehealth to deliver care for rural patients at their local health site.

“There is a big focus to provide telehealth to both metropolitan and outer metropolitan patients within the comforts of their own home or any location they find convenient,” Josh said.

Approximately 1,000 patients a month are using telehealth across SMHS, across 42 clinical services.

Follow South Metropolitan Health Service on Facebook (external site) and keep up to date with all the latest news at Rockingham Peel Group.