Digital health helps local Aboriginal clinic

The WA Primary Health Alliance Digital Health Team has been operating in Port Hedland for some time, promoting the use of digital health tools such as MyHealth Record, ePrescriptions, secure messaging and telehealth under the Australian Digital Health Associations Communities of Excellence Program.

Recently, the team had the opportunity to accompany the local Indigenous owned and operated Aboriginal Medical Service, Wirraka Maya to a remote community on their weekly clinic visits to Warralong. Located 120km south east of Port Hedland and 50km north of Marble Bar with a population of between 50-80 people, Warralong has 11 houses and a community school which is shared with its neighbouring community of Strelley. 

The clinic offers two consult rooms, a kitchen and meeting room as well as a secure storeroom where medication for community members is kept. No appointments are needed and the next visiting medical staff are displayed on a chalk board outside the clinic. 

We have been working closely with local indigenous owned and operated Aboriginal Medical Service, Wirraka Maya clinic and other service providers in the region through regular training updates exploring with the local steering group how providers can use digital health tools to improve communication and access to services for the local population.

This work led to Wirraka Maya, not only increasing their use of digital tools like My Health Record, but actively seeking out new ways of working.

Following the connection of the NBN to the community, the clinic has been able to use the internet to its full capabilities which in turn improves the health and wellbeing of community members. A major milestone has been achieved with the purchase of a portable ultrasound machine, providing vital prenatal check-ups of pregnant community members and cutting down on travel to the Hedland Health Campus or other regional health facilities.