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CQUni alumnus at the forefront of telehealth rollout

Published:22 June 2020

CQUniversity alumnus and software engineer for medical software solutions company MedicalDirector, Jamie Richter

Telehealth services will continue to boom well after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

That’s according to CQUniversity alumnus and software engineer for medical software solutions company MedicalDirector Jamie Richter.

Mr Richter, who has played a part in the rollout of COVID-19 medical initiatives such as telehealth and electronic prescribing during the pandemic, believes telehealth will “undoubtably flourish in the coming years”.

“While nothing will ever truly replace the need for face-to-face, figures have suggested that anywhere up to 50 per cent of general practice consults were conducted via telehealth or telephone during the pandemic,” Mr Richter said.

“While nobody expects those lofty numbers to remain the norm, we do expect to see the rise of the telehealth-only medical practice!

“I’d like to believe that the health industry has always harboured an appetite for telehealth, but for various reasons it never gained traction – privacy/security concerns, Australia’s patchy broadband availability, a lack of patient awareness, and undoubtedly a touch of politics thrown in there somewhere.

“Putting aside the chaos of COVID-19, one of the huge positives has been the undeniable proof that telehealth can be a viable alternative to face-to-face consults under the right circumstances.”

Mr Richter, who studied a Bachelor of Information Technology with CQUniversity, was involved in the evaluation and technical discussions surrounding MedicalDirector’s Clinical telehealth solutions.

“It was a very humbling experience to be at the digital frontline of the health software fight against COVID-19,” explained Mr Richter.

He said thanks to a cloud-based system known as Helix, and a team of talented individuals, his organization was able to release a telehealth solution and have it working in practices only a couple of weeks after initial conception. 

Looking in the future, Mr Richter said the medical industry will make huge leaps in technology thanks to the pressure put on the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Industry behemoths like Apple, IBM and Google are already doing some amazing, innovative work in the health space. And those are only the publicly announced projects.

“Skip forward a decade and it would not surprise me if a person could walk into their GP with a serious complaint, have a real-time full body scan assessed by Google artificial intelligence and then have that diagnosis cast to a specialist on the other side of the planet. It’s not entirely fanciful.

“With that said, true industry disruption often comes from start-ups and indie developers. I have to admit that I was amazed by some of the incredibly clever ‘iso projects’ that indie developers were sharing during the early days of the pandemic.

“Getting a person’s pulse via a webcam – now that’s cool. I can’t remember the number of times I thought to myself: ‘why didn’t I think of that?’.”

Mr Richter started at MedicalDirector 14 years in customer support, followed by a few years in the data team, before eventually transitioning to software engineering about a decade ago.

“A career in software engineering can be incredibly challenging, especially given its mercurial nature and constant requirement for self-learning.

“A day won’t pass where you aren’t learning something new or revaluating what you have already learnt,” Mr Richter explained.

“My experience at CQU has given me the knowledge to understand and apply the fundamentals of my industry, the tools to instil a hunger for personal growth and self-learning, and the confidence to take on any challenge presented to me.

“Heck, every now and then when a task feels overwhelming, I cast my mind back to that first airline seating algorithm I hashed-up in CQU’s Programming A course and smile.”