Since it’s inception four years ago by two doctors working in the aged care industry, Troye Wallett and Sebastian Rees, the online platform has now spread to aged care facilities across the country and expanded to 35 General Practitioners (GP’s).
The success and impact of the initiative through providing a service to residents in aged care facilities was certainly felt to be recognised by it’s founders after being announced the winner of the 2017 SA Telstra Business of the Year Award.
“Winning the award is a huge honour for the entire GenWise team but this is really all about the patients and improving the standard of care for all retirement and aged care facility residents,” Dr Rees says.
“We know that the numbers of older Australians living in residential care is set to dramatically increase and so we are going to be very busy continually improving our platform.”
As well as receiving the award for recognition of the work GenWise is doing for the aged care sector, Dr Rees says the reception they have received from aged care providers, patients, families and the GP community as a whole have been “overwhelming”.
“I think everyone has had experience with a loved one going into residential care or needing extra support later in life, and so can relate to our cause,” he says.
“We are looking forward to working with many more aged care organisations and GP’s as we strive to meet the high demand that is coming for good quality and collaborative medical care for older Australians.”
Despite it’s growth from being an initial fix to challenges the two doctors were facing within their work in the aged care sector, Dr Rees says the goals of GenWise have not changed from the beginning.
“At the time GenWise was founded, we were both struggling with the lack of a good Information Technology system, inefficient paperwork and a lack of peer support,” Dr Rees says.
“So GenWise was initially created for us to solve our own problems and be able to work more efficiently in aged care.
“From there we have grown to a network of more than 35 GP’s across the country but still we exist to improve access and choice of GP for aged care residents.”
Residents of retirement villages and aged care facilities across the country can now have access to a GenWise GP who will visit the facility regularly. This means that residents will see the same GP each time, something Dr Rees says will help in forming a ‘therapeutic relationship’ with them.
For aged care providers using Genwise Health, like Southern Cross Care’s Pearl Retirement Resort in the Northern Territory, Dr Rees says it translates into more dedicated GP’s with a special interest in aged care, equating to better care for their patients.
“The main benefit of GenWise is for the residents,” he says.
“In some areas residents are covered by a GenWise GP around the clock.
“Having a regular after-hours GP who shares the same notes as their regular GP is a game-changer in the after-hours space – to use the team approach and continuity of care can only lead to better health outcomes.
“Our doctors are dedicated and skilled in delivering care to an older population and the care they receive is of the highest quality – this is the most important thing to come out of GenWise.”
Southern Cross Care Manager of the Northern Territory Care Services Sylvia Treacy says the relationship between Southern Cross Care and award-winning GenWise started more than three years ago.
“GenWise GP’s have been in place for two and a half years – initially starting with one GP before a second joined followed by a third shortly after,” she says.
“Each GP visits their own residents on a weekly basis or more frequently if required – we now have around 20 Southern Cross Care residents, including respite clients, currently using the GenWise service.”
In addition to providing care to residents, Ms Treacy says the partnership with GenWise is making a positive impact on the aged care sector.
“They are always reliable, always available, respond to residents needs and are very thorough in their assessments and treatment,” she says.
“We receive magnificent feedback from staff, residents and resident family members who report a good working relationship and great follow through on referrals to other services.”
GenWise will join all other state and territory category winners at the national Telstra Business Awards in Sydney on August 25.