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"Telehealth Unit"

About: Geraldton Hospital Telehealth Service - WACHS Midwest

(as the patient),

The room provided for telehealth appointments is not situated in a way that caters for patient privacy. The room is located next to and adjoining the reception at the entrance of the hospital. It is separated by a glass door which allows all conversations, on either side of the door to be heard by both parties - hospital administration employees and patient/doctor (appointments). I do not feel confident sharing intimate, private and sometimes embarrassing symptoms with my doctor knowing that I can be overheard by receptionists, hospital volunteers and passer-bys. 

Please re-think the location of the telehealth appointment room to a more suitable place that caters for patients privacy. 

Responses

Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS - Midwest

picture of Michele Young

Dear Dontwanttobenamed

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about your experience with Telehealth. It concerns me greatly that you felt your appointment was not confidential and could be heard by others through a closed door. WA Country Health Service aims to provide a high level of patient centred, professional, quality care to everyone using our service, which includes providing the means to communicate with your healthcare professional in a private and confidential manner. I am very sorry your experience with our service did not reflect this. We have several rooms throughout the Geraldton Hospital that are used for Telehealth appointments and after discussion with Derek Fraser, Operations Manager Geraldton Hospital, we plan to undertake an investigation of the room in question to assess its suitability to provide confidential Telehealth services.

I invite you to contact Derek on 9956 2369 or myself on 9956 2291 or CES.WACHS-Midwest@health.wa.gov.au if you would like to discuss this matter or provide suggestions on how we can improve this service, you can remain anonymous in any contact with us if you prefer.

Thank you again for sharing your feedback on Patient Opinion and allowing us an opportunity to improve our service.

Warm Regards

Michele

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Response from WA Country Health Service Midwest

Posted on behalf of Statewide Telehealth Service, WA Country Health Service.

Dear Dontwanttobenamed

The Statewide Telehealth Service will use your unfortunate experience to remind all our clinicians and coordinators to ensure that the requirements of privacy and confidentiality are met in the Telehealth environment. We will also reiterate and if necessary clarify our guidelines around soundproofing of Telehealth venues to improve our services. Thank you for the feedback; we value it greatly – especially as we are trying very hard to improve care in the country through the appropriate use of Telehealth.

For your information, we do have a guideline in relation to clinical venues being used for Telehealth appointments. If you would like a copy of these guidelines please don’t hesitate to contact Alan Hamilton, Manager Statewide Telehealth Service on Telehealth.ProjectOfficer@health.wa.gov.au

We will also take this opportunity to update this document and reinforce the requirement to ensure venues are soundproof and provide the appropriate level of privacy.

Regards

Alan Hamilton

Manager Statewide Telehealth Services

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Response from Jeffrey Calver, Regional Director, Executive Services, WACHS- Midwest We are preparing to make a change

Dear Dontwanttobenamed

I would like to provide you with an update on changes that are being made as a result of your feedback about our Telehealth Service at Geraldton Hospital. Our local Telehealth Coordinator has conducted sound testing and as a result a new sound proof door has been ordered for the room in question. We are also looking into changing the furniture and wall hangings to absorb more sound in the room. Additional I can confirm planning is underway to commence a region wide audit of Telehealth sites and clinical venues.

Maintaining our patients privacy is an important factor in providing safe effective healthcare and I would like to thankyou sincerely for bringing this matter to our attention. By sharing your experience through Patient Opinion you have allowed us the opportunity to improve our service to the benefit of every user going forward.

I hope these changes help to restore your trust in our service and the valuable resource that Telehealth provides to our region.

Warm Regards,

Jeff Calver

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Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS - Midwest We have made a change

picture of Michele Young

New and improved Telehealth door

Dear Dontwanttobenamed

Just a quick update to let you know that improvements have been made as a result of your feedback regarding your experience with the Telehealth service at Geraldton Hospital.

A new solid door was installed in the room in question on Monday 12 March to further sound proof the room. Telehealth staff are now required to perform a volume set up on the equipment during the meet and greet before the appointment commences, this will be continually monitored to ensure our patients confidentiality is maintained at all times. These improvements will benefit everyone accessing this room for Telehealth appointments going forward.

WA Country Health Service Midwest strives to provide quality consumer-centred care by building positive partnerships with our health service users so thank you again for taking the time to get in touch and allowing us the opportunity to improve our service.

Best wishes

Michele

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