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Technology enabling a team-based approach to community care at the South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation

Implementing Telstra Health’s Communicare has helped South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation streamline its processes, including data collection and reporting, for better planning and service delivery.


Based in Nowra NSW, South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation (SCMSAC) is a non-government, not-for-profit, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) organisation that provides health and wellbeing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

The complex nature of Aboriginal healthcare, and the number of programs and services offered by SCMSAC, meant that the organisation needed a better way to manage its client data. A full review in early 2018 led to the implementation of Telstra Health’s Communicare - Australia’s leading, fully integrated patient information solution for community health services since 1994. 

“We chose Communicare due to the number of organisations in Aboriginal health that are currently using it and its ability to be used in both clinical and non-clinical settings,” says Nathan Deaves, Executive Officer, Health & Wellbeing at SCMSAC.

Improved service planning and reporting

“In the community-controlled sector, they have greater reporting obligations. It’s not just meeting the needs of clinicians, it’s also at the back-end, being able to extract their data, understand their population and be able to extract the requisite stats that their funders require,” says Vlad Matic, a Medical Management Consultant and General Practitioner who works with community healthcare organisations to improve their performance.

Deaves says that prior to implementing Communicare, the organisation had to extract data from multiple systems for its reporting.

“It was very challenging and caused a lot of grief with manually cross-referencing to ensure our data was accurate. Communicare provides a single point of truth, so that we can plan and deliver better services,” he says.

“We have a number of programmes that also require a lot of customisation in order to ensure we’re collecting the right information and Communicare has a number of options for customisation.”

Streamlining the patient journey

Communicare’s multi-disciplinary approach enables better collaboration between programs and services in a team-based environment.

“Before we had three or four different systems, and our staff spread right across those systems, so it was very fragmented and disjointed. It made the patient journey very difficult to track to see what they were up to and who had provided support,” explains Nathanael Curtis Wellbeing Services Manager at SCMSAC. 

Curtis says Communicare has greatly simplified the patient journey, putting everyone involved in client care on the same page.

“You can see exactly what’s going on and there’s no questioning of who else has seen or supported this person.”

Easy to implement and use

According to Matic, the entire Communicare implementation process at SCMSAC went remarkably smoothly.

“The lead up to implementation and then the follow-up afterwards with the staff from Telstra Health was just awesome,” he says.

“They understood our needs and if they didn’t, they took the time and trouble to understand and address them. Indeed, I think the implementation of Communicare at South Coast Medical Service was one of the least disruptive, smoothest implementations I’ve seen.

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