Telehealth cancer support services for rural and regional Victoria

Women's Health Victoria Jun 2018 - Nov 2019

Partner profile

Women’s Health Victoria Inc. focuses on improving the lives of Victorian women. They undertake strategic health promotion and advocacy to improve women’s health and provide a number of direct services.

Many women living in regional and rural areas miss out on vital patient-support services because they don’t have access to metropolitan hospitals.

Counterpart, the cancer service of Women’s Health Victoria is changing this by leading the way with telehealth cancer-support services.1

Counterpart services connect and inform women with breast or gynaecological cancer. Telehealth connects Counterpart’s services to those living with cancer in rural and regional Victoria.

Watch this video to learn more about how we've supported Counterpart.

Building on previous success

Between 2015 and 2017 the LUCRF Super Community Program funded the Bridge of Support program established through the partnership of Counterpart and Western Health – Sunshine Hospital. This program gave women in Melbourne’s western suburbs access to face-to-face support following a cancer diagnosis and during treatment. It was so successful it’s now embedded in the supportive care provided at Sunshine Hospital’s breast clinic.

The same level of care delivered remotely

Following on from the success of the Bridge of Support program, the Community Program funded the telehealth project to provide women in regional and rural areas with the same level of practical and emotional support as their Melbourne and metropolitan sisters, through webinars, video conferences and interactive meetings.

The use of telehealth as an alternative communication and delivery channel for health and wellbeing services is a growing area and vital to the wellbeing of cancer patients in Victoria.

The project included the installation of the telehealth hardware to enable effective delivery of educational events and support. Along with improved internet capability, this vital infrastructure was required to enable the effective delivery of telehealth.

Counterpart has successfully delivered many telehealth webinar sessions, delivered by specialist medical practitioners to audiences in excess of 250 people, from regional areas such as Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The webinars cover a broad range of topics such as ‘Peripheral neuropathy’, ‘Lymphoedema’, ‘Older, Fitter, Stronger’ and ‘Medical Cannabis’.

To highlight the benefits of the services available, Counterpart also developed a set of easy to read guides. The emphasis being on ease-of-use to ensure people are comfortable using telehealth, logging in to a webinar or accessing services.

Counterpart uses telehealth for peer support volunteer training and have expanded their service to more regional and rural locations, giving all Victorian women access to the best quality healthcare. 

1 Telehealth is a digital video conferencing system that allows patients in remote areas to connect with healthcare providers in metropolitan centres.

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