Maternity care in the bush: using the Internet to provide educational resources to isolated practitioners

Kildea, Sue, Barcley, Lesley and Brodie, Pat (2006) Maternity care in the bush: using the Internet to provide educational resources to isolated practitioners. Rural and Remote Health, 6 559: .

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Author Kildea, Sue
Barcley, Lesley
Brodie, Pat
Title Maternity care in the bush: using the Internet to provide educational resources to isolated practitioners
Journal name Rural and Remote Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1445-6354
Publication date 2006-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 6
Issue 559
Place of publication Deakin West, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australian Rural Health Education Network
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction: Telecommunication infrastructure is being rolled out across Australia with little knowledge about the uptake by health professionals in remote areas. Computer mediated communication has the potential to offer educational support to remote practitioners; however, the viability of this is uncertain. The aim of this research was to establish and evaluate an internet-based resource library targeting the needs of remote area maternity service providers.

Methods: A participatory action research (PAR) approach was used to involve remote area maternity service providers in the Northern Territory of Australia. The evaluation of the resource library included its performance on reach, agency affiliation and richness, factors identified to affect the sustainability and utility of such a resource. An additional component of the evaluation framework documented the facilitators of and barriers to using an information technology strategy to reduce the isolation of remote area maternity service providers.

Results: Overall, the evaluation of the resource library was very positive. Feedback from the PAR team described the resource as contemporary, useful and relevant. Practitioners in leadership and education positions identified the resource library as a valuable tool that enabled them to access professional knowledge, which could then be distributed to any remote-based practitioners, who experienced difficulties with access themselves. The evaluation found that logistical issues were a major problem for potential users. Hardware inadequacies, access difficulties, unfamiliarity with computers, and a lack of management support for nursing and midwifery staff to utilise the resource, were all identified barriers. Remote-area practitioners highlighted education, training and 24 hour support as key priorities.

Conclusions: Results from this research clearly showed the potential of web-based resources to offer educational support through access to clinical guidelines, reports and research, thus reducing the isolation of the remote practitioner. However, it highlighted the need for clear strategic direction at policy level, whereby all stakeholders unite to synchronise the rollout of information technology infrastructure with the necessary education, training and support as an integral component.
Keyword Computer mediated communication
Information technology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Thu, 28 Aug 2014, 14:34:08 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work