COH researchers engage with consumers in the Western Downs

4 April 2024
Professor Anthony Smith presenting at the Consumer Roundtable event

Last month a team of researchers from The Centre for Online Health (COH) travelled to Dalby to participate in The University of Queensland’s Rural and Remote Consumer Roundtable event. The event was an ideal opportunity to engage with communities, who are often overlooked, and invite them to get involved in important conversations. Consumers, community members and UQ researchers were in attendance, and discussed emerging health issues specific to regional and rural communities, setting priorities for future research. Consumers valued being heard and contributing to future research.

Rural and remote consumers shared incredible and impactful stories of an overall lack of access to healthcare services. It was clear we will continue to fail if we keep trying to implement metropolitan models to rural and remote areas. Consumers wanted to be heard by their healthcare professionals, and specifically what Dalby consumers want to see is:

  1. A telehealth super clinic
  2. Investments in health promotion in communicty spaces (e.g. schools, community centres)
  3. A map of health and social services available

A member of COH’s Telehealth Consumer Reference Group who attended commented that at times it was "confronting" to hear the challenges that continue to face regional, rural, and remote communities, but also that it was "fascinating to listen to two research projects currently underway, which are harnessing consumer engagement to improve health outcomes for people in those areas. Both are sustainable and translatable to other communities."

Consumers and researchers left feeling optimistic that future research projects will align with the identified concerns from the day and eventually translate to better clinical care.

If you would like to be a consumer representative and take part in events like that or be aware of consumer involvement opportunities, sign up to be part of our Telehealth Consumer Reference Group.