Telehealth Education: Don’t I just need to know how to use a phone?

Dr Naomi Crafti1

1Turning Point, Richmond, Australia

In early March 2020, along with many other industries, the practice of traditional healthcare was turned upside down due to the emergent pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). From general practice to psychiatry, psychology, oncology to obstetrics and dermatology, clinicians were turning their home offices into consulting rooms and examining patients through the prisms of their computer screens and phones. Seemingly overnight, both clinicians and patients were expected to learn a new language and new technologies, use new apps and channels to communicate, and develop new legal and ethical frameworks and new sets of practice guidelines.

Yet, despite the obvious benefits of telehealth in a myriad of circumstances and across a large range of technologies and applications, together with an extensive and growing evidence base, there is, to our knowledge, very little formal education available in this area at a postgraduate level in Australia. At Turning Point we have responded to an urgent need to develop and make widely accessible a substantive and recognised qualification in telehealth, with a particular focus on behavioural health and the provision of telephone and online counselling and chronic health behaviour change programs. While government bodies, both state and commonwealth, are extolling the virtues of telehealth as an important option in healthcare, for allied health practitioners and telephone/online counsellors in a range of contexts to shift from an in-person to a distance and virtual mode of delivery of services is complex and requires knowledge and training. It is not just a matter of knowing how to use a phone! This presentation will outline how a Graduate Certificate of Telehealth, as an adjunct to existing health/courses, can ensure that those practicing in a range of modalities have the expertise and competence to work effectively in a new and ever-changing environment.


Biography:

Naomi Crafti has worked in the Workforce Development area at Turning Point for over 8 years and  has worked in education for nearly 30 years, mainly in the areas of psychology, counselling and addictive behaviours.

Naomi’s current interest in Telehealth has developed during her time at Turning Point, being involved in developing online courses for the Alcohol and other Drug sector and working alongside the Telephone and Online Services team.

In 2020 Naomi became Course Coordinator for the Graduate Certificate of Telehealth (Monash University), an online course designed to provide the most up to date knowledge and skills necessary for successful Telehealth practice.

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