Managing chronic pain with telehealth

 

Patients managing chronic pain now have  access to specialist multi-disciplinary treatment and care through a new telehealth initiative.  Families can have a virtual appointment through a simple and accessible web based browser.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead was one of two sites in a successful pilot study to evaluate telehealth for managing chronic pain for patients in rural and remotes areas of NSW.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead and Orange Hospital received direct training and support and a clinical toolkit was developed for the six month trial.

Clinicians initially provided the service to patients living in rural areas who had difficulties travelling to the hospital. The intention was to use telehealth for assessment and follow up. The Complex Pain Clinic also provided follow up telehealth services to paediatricians located in regional and remote areas.

However, after three months of offering the telehealth service, the clinic extended the service to metropolitan patients for telephysio and telepsychology so that patients and their famlies did not have to take time off work and school to travel for their appointment.

The project was a collaboration between the Agency for Clinical Innovation, Local Health Districts and specialty networks as well as Health Direct Australia and the NSW Ministry of Health. . All chronic pain clinics in NSW will be offered the telehealth model in 2016.