Based at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital (with a paediatric focus) and the Princess Alexandra Hospital (with an adult and geriatric focus) in Brisbane, Queensland, the Centre for Online Health provides an unrivaled academic and clinical environment within which to pursue a program of postgraduate research leading to an MPhil or PhD.
Our postgraduate students have diverse backgrounds and enquiries are particularly welcomed from potential students with backgrounds in the following areas:
Psychology (in particular Organisational Psychology)
Health Service Managment
Epidemiology and Public Health
Staff and students at the COH undertake research across a broad range of topics related to the delivery of health care at a distance. With strong links to Queensland Health, the Centre has well established research programs in clinical telehealth , Indigenous health, implementation research and imaging informatics.
Students are encouraged to contact the COH if they are interested in telemedicine research. Centre staff are available to discuss potential projects. Prospective applicants are also invited to visit the Centre (by appointment). Please contact the Centre on (+61) 7 3176 8181 or by e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Queensland has specific requirements for entry into its research higher degree programs and some prior research experience is expected. Further details are available here.
How to Apply
Information on applying for a research higher degree at The University of Queensland may be found on the UQ Graduate School website.
Australian Domestic students are not required to pay tuition fees for their research higher degree studies. International students are required to pay fees. Further details me be found here.
A number of scholarship options are avaiable for research higher degree students at The Universty of Queensland. Further details are available on the UQ Graduate School website.
Telemedicine in Aboriginal and Torris Strait Islander communities
A telehealth enabled mobile health screening service was established in 2009 - in partnership with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Queensland. The community-based telehealth service has been providing routine screening services for school age children at risk of chronic health conditions such as ear disease. This project presents an excellent opportunity to formally evaluate the clinical impact and economic value of the telehealth service. Factors such as clinical utilisation; patient and health service benefits; and factors influencing organisational uptake could be explored in detail. (ACS/1)
Acceptability of video-consultation among older people
Older people are thought to be least likely to adopt new technology, yet they are the population group who are most likely to benefit from assessment at a distance. We are interested in exploring how older people (including those who are frail and not frail – relatively healthy people to residents of nursing homes) interact with the various forms of video-consultation, ranging from smart phones to fully configured conventional VC. We envisage a combination of interviews and formal testing. (LG/1)
Value of teleconsultation in long term care
COH is developing a radical new approach to provision of specialist care in nursing homes, using a variety of telehealth strategies. It is uncertain how this might benefit the residents or the staff who care for them. A variety of methods are available to explore this issue, ranging from interviews of patients and observations of the outcomes of consultations to various forms of controlled trials. (LG/2)
Knowledge Translation – the potential for telehealth memory clinics to support the diagnosis of dementia
The reliability of diagnosing dementia using video conferencing has been shown. There is an opportunity to examine the way in which this is being translated into a telehealth clinical service to improve access to memory clinics. The focus will be on service delivery. (MMK/1)
Telehealth and cognition
Exploration of the utility of telehealth to support geriatric care in the area of cognition. This includes reference to dementia (assessment and management), delirium, and behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). There are opportunities to examine this issue in an acute care or residential care setting. (MMK/02)
Understanding the "tyranny of distance"
Developing and using models of spatial accessibility, availability, utilisation and health outcomes. The aim of this work is: (i) to formally describe the distance and time impediments to accessing specialist paediatric health services, and (ii) to examine relationships between distance/time to care and health outcomes. The results of this work will be useful to identify the circumstances in which telemedicine may have potential within the health system. (NRA/1)
Understanding physician acceptance of telemedicine
This project aims to develop new models and theories relating to physician acceptance of practicing by telemedicine. In doing so, the project will examine the relevance and shortcomings of established models and theories of technology acceptance and diffusion. (NRA/2)
Developing a formal evidence-base for clinical telemedicine
Strong evidence relating to the effects of clinical telemedicine is lacking, evidenced by the lack of coverage in e.g. the Cochrane Library. Much evidence is informal or anecdotal. In the absence of sound evidence, decision making is risky. This project will examine the nature of the existing evidence base for telemedicine – in particular, how well telemedicine lends itself to being formally evaluated, examine the appropriateness of available formal approaches and to propose future approaches to strengthen the formal evidence base. (NRA/3)
Studies have shown that examining the level and quality of clinical communication (e.g. communication between patient and doctor or communication among health professionals) can be useful for quality improvement. While studies have shown that patients and doctors show a high level of satisfaction with communication by telehealth, no studies have systematically assessed the level and quality of communication that occurs during telehealth consultations. Using standardised tools, we propose to characterise the communication that takes place in telehealth consultations and to compare and contrast it with conventional in-person clinical communication. (SE/1)
Educational and training needs in telehealth
Educational and training needs in telehealth have been recognised to be key factors in encouraging health professionals to take up telehealth. However, no studies have examined the specific educational and training needs of healthcare professionals (e.g. GPs, allied health professionals, medical specialists). We propose to undertake a series of studies to identify the specific educational/training needs and methods to meet such needs. (SE/2)
The role of new technologies, social networking in the health of young people
Adolescents are one of the largest groups of technology users. Technologies such as smart phones are natural companions of this generation while the use of social networking tools such as Facebook has become widespread. We propose to undertake a series of studies to examine the potential of new technologies for achieving better health outcomes for young people. This may include the use of new technologies for delivering health messages, developing healthy behaviours and promoting healthy lifestyles. The potential of such technologies for self management in different diseases such as diabetes and asthma may also be an important area to explore. (SE/3)
New technologies and their use by health professionals
Technology use among health professionals is expanding with smart phones and tablet computers becoming commonplace. We propose to undertake a qualitative study to understand the perceptions of health professionals on the usefulness of these devices in their clinical practice. The focus would be on identifying factors that encourage or discourage the use of such technologies together with identifying benefits and drawbacks. (SE/4)
Telehealth for self-management
This project will examine the potential of telehealth to promote self-management and healthy behaviour among the adult and aged population in Australia. For example, the potential use of telehealth to support smoking cessation. (SE/5)
Assessing the potential of e-learning for providing continuing professional development
Continuing professional development (CPD) is important for health practitioners to update their knowledge and skills. CPD is most often delivered by short in-house courses. We propose to conduct research to examine whether e-learning methods are effective to achieve specific educational outcomes in health and medical CPD. (SE/6)
Investigating the factors contributing to successful EHR implementation: an international perspective
Easy access to clinical information is undoubted an important facilitator of improved health care. Electronic health records (electronic medical records) are believed to increase efficiency, reduce medical errors and save money for patients and health systems. Over the last two decades or so, a large number of EHR projects have been trialled and implemented in health care systems around the world. While there are few success stories, a number of projects have been expensive failures. Estonia – a small Baltic nation – for example, boasts to be the first country in the world that has successfully implemented a nationwide EHR system, registering all residents’ medical histories from birth to death. Estonia launched EHR in 2008. Meanwhile, UK’s EHR project that was estimated at about $18 billion is considered to be a colossal failure. Australia has been planning on implementing EHR for a long time. A number of different initiatives have been proposed and trialled over the years. The most recent initiative was the development of a lifetime electronic health record for all Australians. Personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) - is a major national initiative to be implemented through all states and territories. This research study proposes to investigate the international experience of EHR implementation to shed light on success factors of this process. Contacts: Sisira Edirippulige and Nigel Armfield. (SE/7)
Mental health intervention for adolescents and young adults with Cerebral Palsy
Younger people with Cerebral Palsy have access to a variety of assessment and treatment services which are well supported by the literature. However, the area of mental health has largely been neglected for this group. Of particular concern is a key transitional period from adolescence to young adulthood. The impact of disability on self-image and wellbeing can be significant for many younger people with Cerebral Palsy. There are serious impediments to mental health treatment for this group due to the need for frequent travel to see a practitioner and issues recreated by non-centralised geographic locations such as rural areas. e-health has proved an effective means of delivering health services and overcomes issues of access and remoteness. A priority is to evaluate the efficacy of providing psychological treatment to younger people with CP using e-health due to unmet need. Particular questions of interest are accessibility to the medium, what psychological approaches work best in the e-medium, the clinical impact on emotional distress and mental health of treatment, user experience of the e-health medium, and what are the factors in the e-medium that make intervention effective with this group and how this may or may not differ from traditional forms of intervention. Contacts: Matthew Bambling and Sisira Edirippulige. (SE/8)
Investigating the potential of e-health for supporting veteran groups
Veterans are an important group in Australia having served their country in many ways during their term/s of service. Mental health problems are a significant concern to this group, especially where traumatic experience occurs in relation to tours of duty. Veterans have access to a variety of mental health services and options yet outcomes for many are not what would be hoped with the existing resource commitment. Problems of poor treatment compliance and relapse are common in this group. e-health represents an important option for this group in two ways; it may serve as an alternate option for primary intervention for those who do not want to access traditional services. International research into e-mental health with non-veteran populations demonstrates a reduce relapse and faster detection of deterioration allowing more rapid intervention which also reduces the severity of illness. There is reason to believe it may also be effective with Veteran populations. It is possible that e-health may reduce the burden of care on traditional systems by keeping people well for longer and functioning at a higher level. More so, e-health may provide symptom maintenance support as an adjuvant to standard care. Priority areas for research are the use of e-health mental health services to support Veterans during standard treatment, the impact on symptom severity and functioning, and relapse rates. Contacts: Matthew Bambling and Sisira Edirippulige. (SE/9)