Integrating retinal camera screening in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs): A ‘leading-practice’ example
The Gidgee Healing Primary Health Service is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) in North West Queensland that provides a range of medical and clinical services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Mt Isa and the surrounding region including a clinic at Normanton. Health services are provided by a team of General Practitioners (GP), Indigenous health professionals, nurses, allied health professionals, administration and transport staff. This includes a visiting optometrist, who attends the clinic bi-monthly for a full week each visit.
Gidgee Healing Normanton was first funded under the Commonwealth Government Provision of Eye Health Equipment and Training (PEHET) for a retinal camera in 2018 and their staff were trained through PEHET in November 2018. Since then, Gidgee Healing Normanton have been active in their use of the camera. They have 222 patients with diabetes on their client list and have successfully screened approximately 70 per cent of their patients with diabetes.
Since acquiring the camera and undertaking training in its use, Gidgee Healing Normanton staff have successfully integrated retinal camera screening into their practice. Their clients with diabetes are screened through a variety of different approaches, the photos are assessed by their GP or other ACCHO staff who have undertaken online grading training to assess photos (www.drgrading.iehu.unimelb.edu.au, www.learningforvision.com.au), the MBS item 12325 benefit is claimed, and referrals are made to their visiting optometrist or regional ophthalmology service.
Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will receive an eye health check with the use of the retinal camera that we have in our clinic Josephine Bond, Senior Aboriginal Health Worker, Gidgee Healing Normanton
Gidgee Healing Normanton are very proud of how they have trained local people to lead the work around the use of the retinal screening camera and how well accepted it has become by the community.
Gidgee Healing Normanton will continue to build on this service and look at ways to improve access to ophthalmology as close to home as possible and ensure that the training and support related to the use of the retinal camera is ongoing and sustainable. The employment of the North West Queensland Indigenous Eye Health Coordinator through Gidgee Healing is a key initiative to the continuing support of this activity.
For full details on how Gidgee Healing Normanton successfully integrated retinal camera screening into their practice, download the 'Integrating Retinal Camera Screening in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs): A leading-practice example' handout below:
If you have any questions relating to this ‘story’ please contact Patricia Taylor, Practice Manager at Gidgee Healing Normanton via telephone (07) 4744 0400.
This 'Share your Story' article was published 14 Nov 2019.