Facilitating personalised burn care across a statewide health network: supported decision making via telehealth

Mrs Sharon Rowe1, Ms Fiona  Wood

1Fiona Stanley Hospital


Western Australia has a population of 2.6 million; 10% of the national population dispersed over a third of Australia’s land mass. 34% of adult burns patients are from regional/rural areas with over-representation of people who identify as Aboriginal. A Telehealth digital photo review clinic aims to provide a single point of contact at the Adult State Burns Service and give accurate information for timely and appropriate burns treatment, regardless of geographic location. The service triages and facilitates appropriate transfers, prevents unnecessary transfers and their associated personal, emotional and fiscal costs, and supports early discharge back to local care providers.


A tier 2, 40.1 clinic was set up within the health department WebPAS system. Digital photos are emailed (with patient consent) to a designated repository. An automatic reply provides information for out-of-hours contact. The referring centre is contacted within 24-48 hours. Patients identified as requiring transfer have their photos reviewed by a Burns Consultant, to accept transfer to the tertiary service.


Over 17 months, 639 rural/regional/remote patients were referred to the photo review clinic equating to 1,105 episodes of care. 44 patients were transferred to Perth for admission to the Statewide Adult Burns Unit. 68 people attended burns outpatients only.


The use of telehealth and digital imagery improves quality and individualised care of burn injured rural/regional/remote Western Australians, while offering opportunities to reduce length of stay and unnecessary transfers. This process improves the knowledge of rural/regional health care professionals; building better relationships with the local communities.

Sharon Rowe BN, post graduate diploma burns nursing, post graduate diploma clinical education. Masters of Clinical Nursing.

Sharon has worked in burns for over 20 years in Perth. She is the Clinical Nurse Consultant for the State Adult Burns Unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

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