Rachel Smith

Podcast: Rachel Smith, Practice Manager at Murchison Medical clinic in AUS

February 8, 2021
VectorCare Team

Rachel Doherty Smith is the practice manager at the rural Murchison Medical Clinic in Australia. With experience in both US and Australian healthcare, Smith walks us through some of the key differences in healthcare delivery and innovation, how to utilize remote patient monitoring in rural areas, and more.

Below are a few questions from our interview with Rachel. To view listen to the entire interview, click on the podcast link below! Follow us at @TPJpodcast on twitter to stay up to date with our new podcasts all about patient-centered care delivery.

Now you’ve had significant experience in healthcare both in the US and Australia. I’m curious as to what you see are the key differences between the two health systems?

Oh gosh, it’s been really fascinating. In fact, the first year that I lived in Australia I kept a weekly journal to process and absorb all the differences.

Of course, the biggest difference is Australia’s universal healthcare system, which is called Medicare. In my opinion it’s a really humanitarian approach to government and health. People are generally cared for at the level they need. The Centrelink system provides a liveable wage to people if they don’t have one, and then the healthcare system provides Medicare. When you go to the doctor, everything is bulk billed and there are no out-of-pocket costs for the patient. So everyone can get a decent standard of living and quality of care. Overall, I think that people in Australia are not as stressed and worried and desperate as it can be in the states.

There’s also a strong care planning approach here. Patients have comprehensive GP management plans, which is a holistic approach to care which goes through all chronic conditions. There are also health assessments which are routinely done at different age points to look for preventative issues. Our healthcare finances are also driven to provide incentives toward prevention and holistic care.

Your practice is currently serving a rural population. What advice would you give to your US colleagues about providing better care in a rural setting during a health crisis like COVID?

Well, I think the basis is for each country to ensure that the healthcare system has sufficient funding. But aside from that, we’ve found that telehealth is really quite an instrumental tool for mental health, patient education, and connecting the entire care team.

I would also recommend, if possible, to try to connect the dots for your patients and provide a “one-stop-shop” of care. I see that this “Kaiser Permanente” model of doing things as really effective and helps patients access all the services that they need.

How do you see Australia innovating and bringing me new technology into healthcare? What trends are you seeing?

I’d say one of the silver linings of this pandemic is that it has advanced the use of technology by about ten years here. The use of telehealth is one example, which I believe will now be supported by our Medicare system permanently to some extent.

Our practice is also currently involved in a pilot project with remote patient monitoring, where patients have their choice of blood pressure monitors, oximeters, a scale, and a glucometer to monitor their health data. During the program, each day our nurses get a report of the patient’s tests and check in with them if there are any concerning signs. We’re really excited to start using remote patient monitoring as a critical tool to supporting rural patient care.

‎The Patient's Journey: Rachel Doherty Smith: Practice Manager at Murchison Medical Clinic in AUS on Apple Podcasts

‎Show The Patient's Journey, Ep Rachel Doherty Smith: Practice Manager at Murchison Medical Clinic in AUS - Feb 8, 2021

Want more knowledge from out podcast guests? Check out our new 2021 healthcare book list, all recommended by top healthcare experts and The Patient's Journey podcast guests. Our last podcast features Cris Cebollero, CEO of Cebollero & associates.