From Antarctica to Christmas Island, Myanmar and now closer to home in Tasmania, Australian doctor, Meg McKeown, has had a globe-spanning career delivering medical care in remote locations.
Throughout it all she has relied on Visionflex telehealth technology to overcome the obstacles of distance and extreme weather conditions. Dr McKeown discussed her use of clinical telehealth in a recent case study by Visionflex software design partners, Fluffy Spider Technologies.
“Any case that I saw in Antarctica, I would use the Visionflex devices to take patient pictures, or I would use it to record visits, so that if I needed to get additional help back from Australia, I could,” said Dr McKeown who was a member of the Australian Antarctic Division’s Polar Medicine Unit.
While in Antarctica, Dr McKeown says one of her most important devices was Visionflex’s dental camera.
“To be honest, it was probably my most used piece of kit in Antarctica. For example, we had a lot of complex dental cases and just to be able to get that picture of a tooth without using mirrors and a still camera was revolutionary. You could actually get proper pictures and get proper advice on how to fix it.”
Telehealth solutions for health and allied health professionals
Visionflex’s ProEX Telehealth Hub and ProEX Mobile tablet are specifically designed and engineered to enable health practitioners worldwide to confidently carry out detailed medical examinations on patients in regional, remote, rural and urban areas.
The ProEX system supports a suite of integrated approved medical devices. These devices provide high-quality live video and imaging capabilities, including medical and dental cameras, blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, digital stethoscopes and thermometers, blood glucose monitors and more.
Visionflex offers software to connect multiple ProEX Telehealth Hubs over a wide area network (WAN) and facilitate the integration of collected data with electronic medical record (EMR) systems.
Versatile telehealth applications
After leaving Antarctica, Dr McKeown leveraged her Visionflex telehealth experience while she was stationed around Christmas Island and Ashmore Reef aboard a customs ship. While the ship’s mission was wildlife conservation, at the time the region was a hot spot for asylum seekers. Dr McKeown spent her time providing care to refugees on their way to Christmas Island. In such a remote part of the world, telehealth devices were crucial for mainland support.
Dr McKeown also worked in Myanmar as the Australian Embassy doctor: “While I was there, an expat Australian patient developed some neurological problems in their arm and we got an MRI done locally, and then we used telehealth video to a specialist neurosurgeon in Hobart who I trusted and worked out a plan for them.”
Today, Dr McKeown is the Medical Director for the Moreton Group Medical Services, which operates a mobile clinic for vulnerable Tasmanians, including those who are homeless.
With limited resources, specialists and significant distances across Tasmania to reach patients to deliver care, Dr McKeown’s Visionflex toolkit is invaluable in her new position. She is able to use it to utilise specialists on the Australian mainland for timely assistance and advice on patients; and to enable her team to harness her expertise for numerous patients in different locations on the same day with their Visionflex remote devices. “It’s a lot of remote work, actually, and poses the same kind of challenges. We provide semi-advanced field training through remote area medicine, which is what I was doing in Antarctica, solo. I have taken that kind of solo practice back to Tasmania.”
You can read the full case study about Dr Meg McKeown’s experience: