A nurse at the Dargo Bush Nursing Centre wears a pair of goggles and uses a torch to peer down a young patient's throat.
Almost 400 kilometres away from the remote town in Victoria, a surgeon sits in Melbourne and examines the girl to see how she's recovering from a tonsillectomy.
The scenario doesn't involve teleportation from the city to the bush, but the next best thing: a high-tech mixed reality headset and satellites.
The Bairnsdale Regional Health Service has started using Microsoft's HoloLens goggles and a satellite internet connection to improve care for rural communities.
A nurse wears the goggles while a specialist joins an online meeting that allows both to see a patient from the same perspective, looking head-to-toe, directly down a throat, or at a wound.
The patient and the nurse can hear the specialist on a speaker, while both clinicians use the mixed reality software to share notes or draw diagrams.
Darin Roy, from the local health service, said telehealth appointments used to involve basic video calls, often interrupted by unreliable internet.
The new technology saves patients spending money on travel and accommodation to see a city specialist, Mr Roy said.
Many have embraced the experience.
"They think it's space age and like Star Trek," Mr Roy told AAP.
"We've got a nurse there, who is wearing the device and they're on that care journey with you, holding your hands."
The faster satellite internet speed also improves the community's wellbeing, he said.
When a local died during COVID-19 lockdowns, residents watched the funeral online, sitting through constant internet drop outs.
"I would never see that happening ever again, we never have to re-traumatise the residents if we go back into lockdowns," Mr Roy said.
Azure Space engineer Nicholas Moretti said satellite technology was boosting connectivity in remote areas across Australia, where it can be expensive or impossible to install fibre or wireless internet.
"We're trying to democratise access to space technologies, and this is a perfect example of that," Mr Moretti said.
"Space can have a meaningful and tangible impact on people's lives."
Not all country communities consider telehealth an ideal solution, as many continue fighting to recruit and retain local GPs.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners believes telehealth improves access to care for people in rural areas, but is best when patients can have consistent care from one doctor.
Dan Hookham, the chief innovation officer from Velrada, which helped roll out the Dargo service, said similar technology was used in Western Australia and the UK.
"I don't think this is a replacement in the locations where access to those facilities and skills is a possibility, but in rural communities, it's a game changer."
Australian Associated Press
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