26 March, 2021
At the Wounds Australia Virtual Conference, Tuesday, May 4th, 3.15 – 4.15 pm (AEST), Dr. Olufemi Oshin and Dr. Lorraine Anderson will be discussing a state-wide digital initiative that aims to improve the health outcomes of patients with diabetes-related foot complications, followed by a live Q&A session.
Diabetes is one of the world’s fastest-growing chronic health conditions and diabetic foot ulcers rank amongst the top 10 causes of global disability and morbidity. In Australia, an estimated 1.2 million Australians (4.9% of the population) currently suffer from diabetes and related complications like foot ulcers. There are 27,600 diabetic foot-related hospital admissions annually and 4,400 major amputations per annum. Sadly, the Indigenous population (particularly those from rural and remote communities) is disproportionately represented in these statistics with profound negative psychosocial and economic consequences.
Dr. Olufemi Oshin, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Medical Co-Director at Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, WA
In 2017, Dr. Olufemi Oshin moved from the UK to Perth, Western Australia initially as a Fellow. He rapidly developed an interest and passion for improving Indigenous health that complemented his clinical and academic interest in diabetic foot care prior to becoming a Consultant Vascular Surgeon. Equitable, high-quality healthcare remains a key driver in his day-to-day clinical practice as a vascular surgeon and Medical Co-Director at Royal Perth Hospital.
One of his first projects was the development of a regional wound imaging network to support the virtual multidisciplinary foot clinic at Royal Perth Hospital. Initially inspired by the work of Professor Shirley Jansen at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in WA, Dr. Oshin submitted a research proposal to make this project a reality. Funding was sadly not granted, however, the concept inspired fundraising efforts from multiple organizations (Royal Perth Hospital, Diabetes WA, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, and Boab Healthcare) that led to the rapid expansion of the idea into a state-wide initiative that continues to grow.
Dr. Oshin says, “Australia has been a world leader in pioneering telehealth to support equitable access for our rural and remote communities. At its core, good healthcare is supported by the easy transfer of information whether it is between the patient and clinicians during a consultation, healthcare workers at the same institution, or from one institution to another. COVID has really shown us that developing this health delivery paradigm using technology has benefits in metropolitan, rural, and remote settings. This is the future of health care; it should be embraced and exploited for the benefit of our patients.”
Dr. Lorraine Anderson, Medical Director, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services, Broome, WA
Dr. Anderson has worked in far north Western Australia (Pilbara and Kimberley) and the Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas and Cocos Islands) for the last 12 years and is currently the Medical Director for the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services in Broome, Western Australia. She is passionate about improving the health outcomes for patients living in remote communities across Western Australia. The Kimberley Foot Initiative is part of the state-wide initiative that is combining the use of ARANZ Medical’s Silhouette devices, better access to Podiatry services, and upskilling Aboriginal Health Workers in remote clinics to improve foot care and examinations.
Dr. Anderson says, “I firmly believe that telehealth options and technology will help improve access to best-practice care for those people living remotely. It is important that we reduce the high rates of amputation secondary to diabetes in the Kimberley. The Kimberley Foot Initiative is one part of the state-wide initiative and is already looking very promising.”