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Our Region, Our People: Meet Tina

Published 09 May 2023

Tech savvy clients will benefit from specific upgrades at occupational therapy clinic

Tina Hamilton is looking forward to enhancing the digital capabilities at her Proserpine practice

Digitally savvy clients are one of the reasons a Whitsunday occupational therapy clinic is upgrading its digital technology, according to Principal Occupational Therapist Tina Hamilton.

Occupational Therapy Whitsunday, in Proserpine, is enhancing its digital capabilities to allow for more engagement, connection, and positive change for its digitally literate, often young, clientele.

And now, as a successful recipient of the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) Digital Capability Grant, the clinic can start implementing its digital upgrade, which will, in turn, improve efficiency and reduce waiting list times, enabling more patients to be seen.

Ms Hamilton said digital technology was important for clinicians’ sessions as Occupational Therapy Whitsunday was a paediatric occupational therapy service for 0-19 year olds.

“Our clientele is generally highly digitally literate, and so to engage, connect, promote, and coach our clients for positive change we need to enhance our patient experience using digital technology and tools,” Ms Hamilton said.

“Our occupational therapy clinicians use digital platforms and iOS apps very frequently in our sessions with our clients.

“With the grant funding, we have purchased an iPad with mobile data to enable staff to write clinical notes during out-of-room sessions, for example, home or school, day-care and kindy visits.”

Like most health services during the COVID-19 pandemic era, Occupational Therapy Whitsunday, had moved to provide greater options for virtual patient care.

“To allow continuity of client service, provide options for client centred care, and to remain financially viable in that time during the pandemic, our clinic upgraded our digital capability and capacity,” Ms Hamilton said.

“We enabled telehealth services throughout our practice management systems and paid to increase software subscriptions to allow for greater diversity of platforms for telehealth, such as screen share and interactive whiteboards. In addition, we purchased hardware to facilitate telehealth consultations, which include flexible arm iPad stands, laptop risers, and high-quality headphone and microphone combinations to enable safe and effective ergonomic use for lengthy periods.

“With the current higher rates of virtual care, significant costs have been absorbed by our organisation. However, now we are ready to digitally upgrade again.

“Our next digital upgrade will also help enhance staff capabilities.”

Ms Hamilton said the team was working to mitigate the impact of the current significant health workforce shortages, while also continuing to provide services to patients.

“Being located in Proserpine, we have really felt the occupational therapy workforce shortages in rural and regional Queensland, and are grateful for the NQPHN Digital Capability Grant, which is helping us achieve our next phase of digital upgrades,” she said.

“Our solution at Occupational Therapy Whitsunday is to train, employ, and closely supervise Allied Health Assistants (AHA).

“To continue to enhance patient experience and improve patient outcomes, our AHAs also require access to digital technological resources, such as iPads to support and enable virtual face-to-face consultation offsite and access to patient education resource on and offsite.”

The NQPHN Digital Capability Grants Program (phase 1), with grants for $1,000, aims to help primary care providers, including allied health professionals, in the NQPHN region grow and develop a seamless digital health care service for their patients.

“Thank you to NQPHN for this opportunity to better care for patients and families in our community, it is much appreciated,” Ms Hamilton said. 

The NQPHN Digital Capability Grants Program (phase 2) will be launching soon.

Last updated: 17 May 2023