Maternity care in the bush: Using the internet to provide educational resources to isolated practitioners

Publisher:
Australian Rural Health Education Network
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Rural and Remote Health, 2006, 6 (3), pp. 1 - 12
Issue Date:
2006-01
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Telecommunication infrastructure is being rolled out across Australia with little knowledge about the uptake by health professionals in remote areas. Computer mediated communication has the potential to offer educational support to remote practitioners; however, the viability of this is uncertain. The aim of this research was to establish and evaluate an internet-based resource library targeting the needs of remote area maternity service providers. METHODS: A participatory action research (PAR) approach was used to involve remote area maternity service providers in the Northern Territory of Australia. The evaluation of the resource library included its performance on reach, agency affiliation and richness, factors identified to affect the sustainability and utility of such a resource. An additional component of the evaluation framework documented the facilitators of and barriers to using an information technology strategy to reduce the isolation of remote area maternity service providers. RESULTS: Overall, the evaluation of the resource library was very positive. Feedback from the PAR team described the resource as contemporary, useful and relevant. Practitioners in leadership and education positions identified the resource library as a valuable tool that enabled them to access professional knowledge, which could then be distributed to any remote-based practitioners, who experienced difficulties with access themselves.
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