Travelling to the doctors may soon be a thing of the past with the Government announcing a trial into new technologies.
Travelling to the doctors may soon be a thing of the past with the Government announcing a trial into new technologies. Contributed

Hologram doctors? Seniors to stay at home longer in trial

IMAGINE this scenario: Sitting in your loungeroom while you discuss medical advice with a hologram.

That could very well be a look into the not-too-distant future after the Australian Government launched a trial into home-based treatment that includes holographic virtual doctors.

The Australian-first Integrum Aged Care+ trial promises to reduce hospitalisation and help senior Australians live independently in their homes for longer.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the trial, run by Silver Chain, a not-for-profit organisation delivering community health and aged care services, could hold the key to unlocking technologies that would assist seniors staying in charge of their health.

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"This trial aims to overcome the challenges of fragmented care and poorer patient experiences, which can happen when a person is transferred between hospitals, specialists and aged care providers," Minister Wyatt said.

"It's hoped that through Integrum, older Australians will have more control over their care, through a wraparound network that delivers both health and social support.

"It will include the Australian-first application of the Enhanced Medical Mixed Reality interface, allowing healthcare professionals to link with doctors and data through holograms and video conferencing, while they are visiting clients' homes."

 "The Silver Chain Integrum team will communicate with the client's regular GP, if they have one, to complement the care they provide as part of a shared care model.

"This care team will oversee and manage processes like care planning, co-ordination of health and aged care services, referrals and escalation of care, if needed."

Minister Wyatt said the pre-trial results had returned to positive feedback and led the Turnbull Government to back the initiative with a $948,400 investment.

"The second phase of the trial will see the program offered to up to 300 people with multiple chronic conditions who have been hospitalised between one and five times in the previous year," Minister Wyatt said.

"As part of the trial, the project team will be testing whether this integrated care approach helps senior Australians to better manage their conditions at home and reduce hospitalisations and emergency department visits."

More details on the Integrum program are available at https://www.silverchain.org.au


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