Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Fiveways Surgery Update 18 December 2020
By Dr Jared Dart BSc BA (Econ, Govt) MBBS PhD (eHealth, Medicine) FRACGP

Dear Patients and Families
 
What a year it has been. It feels like five years of challenges all rolled into one.

Thank you to my team, our patients and our community 

At the outset I wanted to thank my wonderful team at Fiveways who have worked tirelessly to keep you safe and provide appropriate care for all your General Practice needs. A clinic is only as good as its team and I am proud to say we have a great team. Each part of the team allows the clinic to operate smoothly and safely. 

My Practice Manager Jen has been outstanding and a great support for me. Our reception staff are the frontline when it comes to helping our patients and we have been well served by our excellent team Mimika, Fiona, Maggie, and recently Jack (with the odd cameo from Jen when required). Our Nursing staff keep the clinical side of care moving managing result enquiries and reminders, administering immunisations, providing wound care, sterilising equipment, managing stock and so much more. Our excellent team of Suzanne, our newcomer Kate, and the able back up of multi-tasker Jen, has enabled us to provide the excellent care you deserve.

We have also been growing our allied health team and 2021 will see us expand this even further. Thank you to our clinical psychologist Jayne, our diabetes educator Nicole, and our paediatric OTs Robyn and Mary. 

Of course, a clinic relies on the care provided by our specialist General Practitioners. Fiveways has always had a stellar reputation for medical care – as a patient of 20 years before I came to work and then lead Fiveways, it remains of utmost importance to me that this remains the case. We are lucky to have an excellent team and we will always continue to recruit the best for you and your family. Thank you to Drs Brodie, Ng, Cham and Dowler for your support and care for our patients.

We encourage patients to spread the word about our practice so that we can continue to grow our team of medical, nursing and allied health and remain a viable practice in the face of diminishing government funding and support. 

With this in mind, if you feel comfortable please like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages by using the following links:

Facebook 
Instagram 

I also wanted to thank our patients and community for the support you have given us. The well wishes and concern for our welfare has been heartwarming. Your understanding for the safety measures we have put in place and your respect for our staff during these difficult and changing times has been great.

As in other years, I have maintained several philanthropic endeavours to give back to our local as well as the international community. Fiveways Surgery is proud to sponsor three World Vision children as well as collecting for various overseas and local charities. 

The New Normal – vigilance, caution and adaptation

We are very fortunate that our country has so far escaped many of the health and economic ramifications being experienced around the world. Our community transmission, until very recently in Sydney, was under control; we have a ‘reasonably’ robust system to manage Australians returning home; and we have easy access to testing, as well as responsive and rapid public health tracking and tracing . However, we must not become complacent. Whilst we are all understandably experiencing ‘precaution fatigue’ we need to be mindful of simple strategies like physical distancing (at least 1.5M), cough/sneeze hygiene, staying home if unwell and diligent hand hygiene 

I encourage you to keep up to date with Public Health unit warnings and heed them. Whilst we all need a break, keep in mind whether or not you need to spend time with large groups of people, especially if indoors. Outdoors activities, even if on a patio or verandah are preferred to indoors activities. Unfortunately, virus transmission is more likely if we become complacent. 

I anticipate the COVID19 vaccine will be available in 2021 with the first doses being administered to the most vulnerable groups in the March-June period . We will carefully plan and manage the roll out of the COVID19 vaccine to our patients in collaboration with the relevant public health health authorities. In order to do this in the most efficient and safe manner I will be exploring all options including using alternative premises to deliver the vaccination. Because this is a new vaccine we want to make sure there is adequate informed consent but I’m sure all our patients will appreciate the difficulty associated with doing this individually if we are to deliver more than 10 000 vaccinations (each patient will need two injections a month apart). Please be understanding if we employ technology such as online consent forms – as usual we are happy to support people who feel less comfortable with technology. 

I am hopeful that data will emerge demonstrating that the vaccines will reduce transmission as well as disease – but time will tell. 

In the meantime, as the headline says, remain vigilant, be cautious and adapt your behaviour according to the latest public health advice. 
Thank you to my staff, our patients, and my multi-talented Practice Manager Jen, for helping to roll out my health tech start up Welio in our practice. Your feedback has helped us to refine the product and, as usual in health tech, we are continuing to refine the product and develop new features.

Welio enables you to have video or voice consultations (you can turn the video feed off) without having to pay manually over the phone. Similar to Uber, Welio asks patients to provide payment details which are handled by a highly secure and PCI compliant payment platform (read here for more information). None of your payment details are stored in our application. While I understand misgivings about payment information, our platform is robust and secure. If you have any questions about it please email us at support@welio.com so we can allay your concerns. You can find out more about how to use Welio here – https://fiveways.online/welio/

Our application is built using technology with privacy and security paramount. For more information click here 

https://welio.com/privacy/
https://welio.com/terms/

Our vision is much bigger than Video consultations alone and our product roadmap includes a soon to be released message consultation capability and remote monitoring for chronic disease parameters such as blood pressure, weight, pulse oximetry, and blood sugar as well as lifestyle factors. All of this will rely on the platform we have built for secure communication between patients and health professionals. 

We already have 100 practices who have registered for our early release and I intend to grow our team in the new year. If you know anyone interested in health tech in Brisbane who would like to support a local start up built by GPs for GPs they can email us via this email so we can arrange a meeting. Word of mouth and warm introductions work just as well for developing partnerships as they do for acquiring new patients, in my opinion. 
2021 – what will the new year bring?

2020 has been challenging for so many reasons. Despite current conditions our economy, our families, our communities and our health system still face significant challenges. 

However, we are much more prepared for these than ever before. This preparation has, however, come at a cost. 

We are all much more vulnerable to mental illness than ever before in this century. Stress is cumulative and unfortunately unrelenting. Vigilance can turn into hyper-vigilance, caution into anxiety, and we can fail to adapt to the new world in a healthy and sustainable way. Isolation from family and friends can make all of this harder to bear.

If you do one thing for your health in 2021, I encourage you to focus on your mental health. If you need a friendly, professional ear, come in and see us. GPs are expert at dealing with ‘undifferentiated’ mental health concerns. We can support you with strategies and referrals to psychologists suited to your needs and personality. 

Vaccinations will be rolled out in Australia in 2021 but I anticipate this occurring no earlier than the March – June quarter and expect it will take most of 2021 to vaccinate the vulnerable in our population. 

Global economic and geo-political issues will continue to pose problems for Australia. With economic issues, come mental health issues and sometimes family violence. If you or your family are experiencing this, please reach out to your GP. We can, and do maintain confidentiality in all matters, but can take extra steps to maintain your safety and welfare in these circumstances. To find out more about support follow this link:

https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/support-victims-abuse/domestic-family-violence

Physical health remains a concern for our older patients and those with chronic health conditions. If you have been unable to manage your health in an optimal way in 2020 come in to see us to develop a plan for your health care. In most cases, people with chronic diseases are eligible for additional Medicare benefits such as bulk billed care plans and care plan reviews as well as allied health services. Reach out to us at health@fiveways.online to arrange this for next year or call our reception on 0738702525.

There is so much more I could say about the year that has been and the next but, for now, this is enough. 

I hope this email finds you well. If you, your family or your friends need any support, we are here to help. We feel truly privileged to serve our local community. Thank you for your support during these challenging times.

With my warmest regards
 
Jared

Dr Jared Dart
Director iHealth Australia
iHealth Centres
Fiveways Surgery
Founder, Welio

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