Mobile cardiology clinic takes to the road in rural Queensland

A mobile cardiology clinic equipped with diagnostic technology and telemedicine capabilities has taken to the road in south-western Queensland, aiming to provide specialist cardiology services to people in Dalby, Roma, Charleville, Goondiwindi and St George.

Called Heart of Australia, the clinic has been built on a retrofitted road train and contains two consultation rooms, a diagnostic suite with ultrasound and cardiac stress testing equipment, and a patient reception area.

It can share test results instantly with GPs and allow metropolitan hospital-based specialists to attend consultations through video conferencing.

The brainchild of cardiologist Rolf Gomes, who practices at the Medihearts clinic in Brisbane and Ipswich and is a visiting cardiologist at Ipswich Public Hospital, the clinic has been funded by coal seam gas firm Arrow Energy and the federal and state governments.

It will do a circuit of the towns on a fortnightly basis with a rotating roster of specialist staff, and will also provide respiratory medicine. Patients must have a referral from their GP.

Dr Gomes said the mobile service would provide diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for a range of cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

“Heart of Australia has everything that my city practice has, so people won’t have to drive for days to see a specialist,” he said.

Dr Gomes said he had surveyed more than 180 regional GPs who were frustrated at the difficulties patients had in accessing specialist care and who “overwhelmingly supported" a Heart of Australia-type program.

GPs can send a referral via secure messaging service Medical-Objects, download a referral form as a PDF from www.heartofaustralia.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a referral notepad.

Available tests include stress and transthoracic echocardiogram, exercise stress test, 24-hour and seven-day Holter monitoring, 24-hour BP monitoring, ECG and respiratory function.

Plans are afoot to extend the service to central and north-west Queensland in the future.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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