Telehealth research centre aims to put theory into practice

The University of Queensland-led Centre of Research Excellence in Telehealth has officially launched, with a focus on translating research findings into clinical practice and education and training programs.

The CRE, announced last year with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), will provide support for teams of researchers to pursue collaborative research and develop capacity in telehealth.

It also aims to create an overall body of knowledge to understand how known, effective telehealth strategies can become part of the mainstream healthcare delivery system.

It involves six universities with telehealth expertise – the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Melbourne, Flinders University, the University of Western Sydney and Griffith University – which will be complemented by specialists in the fields of health economics, IT, engineering, health informatics, workforce planning and management.

Telehealth researcher Dominique Bird, who has held positions at Monash University, QUT and with UQ's Centre for Online Health, has been appointed as the telehealth program manager. Dr Bird has worked on a number of telehealth program, including the TLC Diabetes project project.

Chief investigators include well-known telehealth researchers and clinicians Len Gray, Deborah Theodoros, Anthony Smith and Trevor Russell, while associate investigators include Elizabeth Beattie, Colin Carati, Sisira Edirippulige and Anthony Maeder.

Professor Gray said last year that the CRE in Telehealth will focus on health service settings where access is currently challenging, such as small rural hospitals, residential aged care facilities, people's homes and indigenous communities.

“The telehealth team has extensive research and translation experience in telemedicine in paediatrics, geriatrics, speech pathology, physiotherapy and dermatology,” he said.

Professor Gray has long emphasised the importance of developing sustainable service models that provide organisational solutions, and this will be a strong focus of the CRE.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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