Tourism Australia Head of Indigenous Aff

New initiative to support improved healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

[supplied by Teresa Mullan]


 Image: supplied

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can trial a new tool to help them manage their healthcare with the launch of a pilot program in Perth of the GoShare digital platform which has supported over 1000 patients so far.


Launched by The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Federal Member for Hasluck and Minister for Indigenous Australians, the pilot program enables doctors, nurses and other clinicians at St John of God Midland Public Hospital in Perth to prescribe a tailored information pack for patients.


The electronic packs may include video-based patient stories, fact sheets, apps and tools on a range of health and wellness topics. They are prepared and adapted according to the patient’s health literacy levels and are being sent by email or text to improve their integrated care and chronic disease self-management.


The pilot program has been approved by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service and is being run as a partnership between St John of God Health Care, a not-for-profit private healthcare organisation, the Australian Digital Health Agency and Healthily, an Australian health-tech company specialising in patient education. Minister Wyatt welcomed this initiative that will support improved healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.


“By making it easier for people to manage their health issues, this pilot can deliver better health outcomes.


“The Hospital’s use of GoShare has already supported over 1050 of its maternity and Emergency Department patients and patients requiring support for mental health issues.


“The Program includes culturally tailored storytelling and shared experience video content – which can help build a person’s confidence, knowledge and skills to manage their health and wellbeing,” Minister Wyatt said.


Information is delivered using Healthily’s content library via their GoShare Healthcare web application. The library includes resources from Australia’s leading peak bodies and evidenced-based patient and carer storytelling videos across a range of topics.


St John of God Midland Public Hospital CEO Michael Hogan said “We are rolling out the GoShare trial for patients in our Emergency Department, Maternity Unit, Mental Health Unit and dedicated Aboriginal maternity service Moort Boodjari Mia.


“The GoShare trial aims to make patients and their carers feel more informed and empowered, which we see as very important as part of our focus on making a difference to health outcomes for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,” Mr Hogan said.


Dr Steve Hambleton, Clinical Adviser at the Australian Digital Health Agency said, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience more chronic disease overall than non-Indigenous Australians and 2 of 2 tend to develop it at younger ages. Digital solutions like the GoShare app and My Health Record are valuable tools for people managing their health at critical junctures in their life.


“This innovation has been co-designed by St John of God Health Care (SJGHC) and Healthily, together with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to create a health care pilot that has the potential to empower people and help them take better control of their health and care,” Dr Hambleton said.


Bettina McMahon, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Australian Digital Health Agency said, “The Agency’s commitment is to ensure all Australians, no matter their background or where they live, have access to health information that can support an improvement in their health outcomes.


“Research has shown that by providing information, which is tailored to an individual’s health literacy level, their level of engagement in their healthcare can be improved.


“This new pilot will support health literacy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and enable them to have more informed conversations about their health with their healthcare professionals,” Ms McMahon said.


Healthily Managing Director Dr Tina Campbell said “Empowering people to play a more active role in managing their health and wellbeing is a key priority across the Australian health care sector.


“We are thrilled to be working with SJGHC and the Agency to build on current evidence that providing tailored digital content that is easy to access and caters to the cultural background, health literacy levels and communication preferences of individuals can build the trust, confidence and knowledge of consumers to participate effectively in their healthcare,” Dr Campbell said.


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