The Back Story
Gidgee Healing is an Aboriginal community-controlled health service based in Mount Isa, North West Queensland. When Gidgee engaged Future Computers in late 2016, it was a rapidly growing organisation, with a responsibility to mobilise a broad range of new health services across some of Australia’s most remote and disadvantaged communities in a very short space of time. At this point in time, Gidgee was operating two clinics based in Mt Isa.
The extensive burden of disease across this region alongside the rapid growth within Gidgee (400% increase in staffing numbers), and the lack of infrastructure within these very remote locations, meant that the project brief for Future Computers was one of enormous scope; not only technically but also with a significant social responsibility.
To address the significant health disparity experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the region, Gidgee needed to establish new clinics in three very remote Aboriginal communities, including Doomadgee, Mornington Island and Normanton. And to do this, Gidgee needed access to a reliable network. The rapid expansion of healthcare services into new and existing locations required substantial increases in staffing, facilities and computing services which were not possible with the existing communications infrastructure.
The core business for an organisation such has Gidgee Healing meant that the outcomes that needed to be delivered were very real. Without this, doctors were unable to view pathology results; patients and their families were waiting extended periods for critical health diagnoses (i.e. cancer; chronic disease); medications couldn’t be administered; doctors were isolated from their tertiary specialists at critical times; and the waiting times for those seeking access to much needed health services was entirely unacceptable.
Professional staff with quick responses
"Future Computers has been an exceptional and outstanding IT support to Gidgee Healing since end of 2016. Very professional staff with quick response providing consistent service. Happy with Transparent communication and Work Culture. I would recommend them to anyone."
How Future Computers Helped
From the outset, the Future Computers team was very aware that this was not ‘business as usual’. Ensuring the speed, reliability and connectivity were optimised across all of Gidgee’s remote sites was not just a ‘desirable’, it was critical. Our solution was developed after in depth consultation with Gidgee and careful consideration of the mission critical nature of the business and services provided to the remote communities.
Our solution composed of the following elements:
- Fully managed network integrating all 8 locations into a single secure network
- SharePoint Collaboration environment
- Updated core network infrastructure that provided fault tolerant uninterrupted connectivity
- Consolidation of multiple disparate phone systems into a unified platform over all location
- Optimisation tools to ensure the interconnecting network performed at its best
Future Computers meticulously built a set of infrastructures that enabled a seamless migration from the previous platform to the new. Over a single weekend it was all hands-on deck as 8 sites were brought online and into the managed network. The process was co-ordinated in such a fashion that site interruption was completely avoided. Additionally, the new phone platform comprising of 125 handsets launched permitting seamless communications between all locations both internally and to external stakeholders.
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The End Result?
Gidgee Healing operates in one of Australia’s most geographically challenging regions with extreme temperatures during the summer; extreme flooding during the wet-season; difficulties in shipping freight, extremely limited availability of a reliable local workforce (yet little to no accommodation for visiting teams); and the complete vacuum of suitably qualified technicians. Despite these hurdles, Future Computers delivered upon the project deliverables within the prescribed timeline. Whilst it required an intensive and multi-pronged strategy to ensure that our customer service teams; our technical support teams; and senior management representatives were always responsive to Gidgee’s needs, the project was delivered on time and with every success.
Given the success of this initiative, Gidgee Healing has successfully improved access to comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care services outside of what previously would have been delivered in under resourced hospital environments that were difficult to reach for many.
The ability to provide these services in such a fashion has dramatically reduced overheads on the public health system in these areas and enabled a greater coverage of medical care for communities that are at high risk of severe illness. For Gidgee and their communities, it has meant more lives saved which you simply cannot put a price on. Gidgee continues to work with health departments to measure the ongoing improved Life Expectancy that has now been achieved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing across this region.
3 Years on
Our continued partnership with Gidgee has allowed us to further support their growth to now over 230 staff and expand into 3 extras sites.
Exceptional, Professional, Outstanding
"What we are achieving for our communities would not happen without Futures support of Gidgee – thank you 🙂"