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Monash University researchers will lead a $2 million Digital Health Cooperative Research Center (DHCRC) project to improve telehealth capabilities that aim to improve patient, clinician and caregiver experiences for mental health services and palliative care.

The new “Enhanced Telehealth Capabilities” project will provide research-based, user-centric software solutions to improve telehealth services such as real-time transcription, smoother integration of medical device personal diagnostic data, and better accessibility for older people or Australians of cultural and linguistic background. diverse communities.

The project will be led by the Faculty of Information Technology (IT) at Monash University. Affiliates include Monash Health, University of Melbourne researchers, industry partners, Healthdirect Australia and the Department of Health (Victoria).

Project leader, Associate Professor Rashina Hoda, from Monash University’s School of Computing, said that with more than 16 million Australians accessing health services remotely since March 2020, it is essential that telehealth experiences are robust, especially for those in regional and rural communities.

“We will work closely with patients, caregivers and doctors to understand their needs and create software solutions such as providing language translations, explanations of medical terminologies in real time during medical appointments, better integration of wearable medical devices and generation of consultation summaries to support patients. and doctors, etc. said Associate Professor Hoda.

“We seek to augment current web-based video telehealth services with further enriched clinical capability support that will create more streamlined and reliable systems, while maintaining the privacy of all users involved.”

Researchers from the Faculty of IT will work with mental health and palliative care researchers to better understand the needs and sensitivities of the specific sector.

The project’s collaborator from the University of Melbourne, Professor Victoria Palmer, said there had been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from mental health problems due to the pandemic.

“Creating better and more accessible telehealth enhancements would mean that more doctors and patients would be supported for an improved telehealth experience that can lead to better health outcomes,” Prof Palmer said.

“The project is particularly important for palliative care patients and their caregivers who have difficulty accessing in-person consultation and will provide data and improvements to better support virtual care,” said the Director of Supportive Care and palliatives at Monash Health and project collaborator, Associate Professor Peter. Poon, added.

Neville Board, Victoria’s Director of Digital Health, said the solutions developed under the project will provide key evidence in Victoria.

“We are thrilled to support this project to improve the virtual care experience for patients and clinicians across the state,” Board said.

DHCRC’s Director of Innovation, Dr. Stefan Harrer, said the Center is proud to bring together clinical, academic, industry and government pioneers in the development and deployment of agile, consumer-centric telehealth services.

“Our investment will provide real-world mental health services delivering improved experiences and outcomes for patients in Victoria while laying the foundation for the telehealth services developed to seamlessly scale and be adopted beyond Victoria and beyond. palliative care; nationally and globally,” Dr. Harrer said.

Over the next two and a half years, the research team will work closely to improve virtual care capabilities with Australia’s national public telehealth provider, Healthdirect Australia.

Once developed, the enhanced video telehealth solutions will be available to Victorian clinics using Healthdirect Australia Video Call.

This project is supported by funding provided to Digital Health CRC Limited through the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centers scheme.

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