The Spinifex Network, championed by UNE's Vice Chancellor Brigid Heywood, is already making waves in regional health with its wide reaching support for practitioners who want to build a career based in regional and rural Australia.
What makes the Spinifex Network stand out from other initiatives is its desire to support and develop those interested in research in the rural health sector. Looking at the impact COVID-19 has had on the community as a whole the network has seen support for digital and e-health continue to grow.
The nation-wide network provides support for medical practitioners and researchers who are passionate about rural and regional health outcomes.
Professor Christine Jorm, the Director of NSW Regional Health Partners says "what makes the Spinifex Network different is that it is outcome focused, ensuring that the focus remains on how can we make people in rural communities healthier, and how can we make the communities themselves healthier."
Despite Spinifex Network having only been running for a year the benefits are already starting to reveal themselves with medical practitioners in regional and rural areas being encouraged to explore research ideas.
"We place a lot of emphasis on the opportunities for rural and regional prosperity to come through both better health and health delivery." This also comes through in the value e-health places on the patients time. Allowing those who live in remote areas to access services without the need for long distance travel.
An unintended, but beneficial, side-effect of e-health has seen an improvement in digital literacy amongst some patients allowing them to access other services available, including social interaction during COVID-19.
The goals of the Spinifex Network remain focused on the idea of equity in health for all rural and regional Australians both as patients and practitioners.