The Government of Western Australia (WA) has announced the launch of the TeleTrial Programme by the WA Country Health Service.

Through this initiative, patients living in regional areas can access Perth-based and interstate research programmes, trial treatments and monitoring, utilising advanced telehealth technology.

The Commonwealth government’s Medical Research Future Fund awarded the WA Country Health Service A$11.3m ($7.5m) TeleTrial funding for a span of five years.

The programme recently commenced at Albany Health Campus, with patients from the Great Southern region joining the Vitafoot diabetes study at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Local clinicians can use a digital three-dimensional wound imaging system equipped at Albany Health Campus for analysing and monitoring changes to participants’ foot conditions over 12 weeks.

Leveraging videoconferencing technology, Albany doctors, nurses and the allied health team will collaborate with key researchers from the hospital’s Multidisciplinary Diabetes Foot Ulcer team.

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With the Silhouette wound management system, local clinicians will be able to prevent, diagnose and treat foot conditions related to diabetes.

Regional participants will be accepted for additional trials in the next two years.

Western Australia Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson said: “For the first time, regional Western Australians can now take part in potentially life-saving clinical trials and stay in their local communities.

“It means that someone who might be identified as suitable for a trial can now say yes regardless of their postcode, improving access and equity for regional residents.

“I congratulate the dedicated teams in Albany and at Fiona Stanley Hospital who have worked hard to recruit the first regional participants in the Vitafoot study.”