Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, NPS MedicineWise had the option for GPs to meet with educators online instead of face-to-face, but, over the past few months, the number of virtual visits has increased by around 1000.  

This massive increase in virtual educational visits has given GPs and educators more flexibility around the location and time at which they meet. But it’s also been a bit of a strange transition.

Kelly Abbott, an NPS MedicineWise educational visitor based in Gippsland in Victoria, has been making virtual meetings with GPs from her farm.

“There have been interruptions from kookaburras and my alpacas and sheep here,” she says, speaking on a video link from her property with rolling green hills in the background. “But that’s all part of working from home and we’re making it work for us.”

“Most of my GPs have absolutely embraced virtual technology to allow us to have a chat about the topic we would normally talk about face-to-face. I’ve had many GPs visiting late at night,” she says.

“And I don’t feel like it’s detracted at all from the information sharing and the relationship we have.

“We’re also making it work for our GPs because there’s no need for them to miss out on education at this time.”

“I’m based up here in the beautiful, tropical far north Queensland,” says Pippa Travers Mason, an NPS MedicineWise educational visitor, speaking via a video link with a virtual backdrop of palm trees.

“It’s not quite the same as being able to get out and about and drive these beautiful roads and visit all my beautiful colleagues in person but it is definitely working quite well,” she says.

“I’m able to catch the clinicians from their home, from their office, from the tearoom, from the hospitals and at various times of day. We’ve created a plethora of work-arounds for anyone who does not think they are tech savvy.”

Reflecting on her first virtual visit, Dr Aimee Pikoos, a GP registrar based in Madeley in Western Australia, said, “despite this new type of training method, where we used Skype, the presenter did a great job in getting the info across”.

NPS MedicineWise visits are currently being offered on the topics of “Opioids, chronic pain and the bigger picture” and “Paediatric asthma: breathing new life into diagnosis and?management”. More information here.