Vaccine cold chain integrity in remote Australia

Vaccine cold chain integrity in remote Australia Conference Paper

15th National Rural Health Conference: Better together!

  • Author(s): Zalitis, Dianne
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2019

Abstract: Introduction: This paper will discuss innovations using existing social media infrastructures to provide an effective pregnancy and parenting service that meets the needs of rural and remote Australians, without any direct face to face contact. Healthdirect Australia’s social media research, analytics data and qualitative evaluation explores the consumers’ expectations and how healthcare providers may operate in this environment. Rationale: Pregnancy, Birth and Baby (PBB) provides a maternal child health nurse service completely within the digital multimedia environment, utilising telephone, video, website and Facebook to communicate, provide advice and support. Our data shows 77% of women access PBB via their mobile device with the main age group, 24 to 35, using social media as their first information source choice and for peer validation. The similarity between birthing age groups and social media users provides an opportunity to engage parents and address access concerns. Healthdirect piloted live Facebook forums with nurses answering parents’ questions, exploring the multichannel environment from both the consumers and healthcare providers’ expectations. Objectives were to learn about audience behaviour, scale, workflow, editorial process and risk management. Building understanding of the forum requirements, benefits, outcomes and ability to scale up. Discussion: The forums connected expecting and new parents and nurses in a social environment without the need to travel or use the phone. This facilitated community building and promoted engagement through sharing of content overcoming the tyranny of distance and isolation. The topics allowed parents to ask any question and allowed us to be present in the same digital space with them. Participation expanded the professional scope of the nurses involved, increasing their social media literacy, developing their response writing confidence and they had fun. The Facebook forums, with their ability to form supportive social networks for isolated and vulnerable families, reached our national consumer audience. Fundamentally putting the rural family, their needs and aspirations at the centre of our service provision. The innovation development process included risk management meetings, proposals, approvals from executive, time and work flow reviews, resulting in functioning forums that operated safely and independently of restrictive oversight. Conclusions and implications for practice: Implications for using social media forums within practice include: training, tone of the written voice and drafting, answers to reduce stress of writing ‘on the fly’, managing risk, audience engagement in topic selection, allocating people to roles in live chat.

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Zalitis, Dianne, 2019, Vaccine cold chain integrity in remote Australia, Conference Paper, viewed 17 October 2021,

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