Three small clinic rooms in Logan that are leading the world in vestibular care

Monday, January 9, 2023

One night while tripping around Australia with his wife and small children, Chris started to experience vertigo outside of Longreach. Having recently received a cochlear implant and unable to open his eyes due to the symptoms, Chris found it difficult to communicate with doctors to help with their diagnosis.

Fearing his symptoms were being caused by a stroke, the team were organising for a medical evacuation to Rockhampton Hospital while they called Dial-A-Dizzy to try and find some answers.

One component of Metro South Hospital and Health Service’s Complex Vestibular Service at Logan Hospital, Dial-A-Dizzy combines some goggles, a little bit of internet and a whole lot of expertise to support clinicians diagnose patients presenting with dizziness in rural and remote facilities.

Consultant Vestibular Physiotherapist Leia Barnes said it only took a quick eConsult with Chris and the clinicians at Longreach to rule out the possibility of a stroke and prescribe the correct medication that could get him back to his trip rather than send him off to Rockhampton.

“The use of the Vesticam goggles allow us to quickly diagnose the cause of the dizziness using a traffic light system. While we’re on the call, we’re then able to provide guidance and support to the local treating teams to upskill them in their work,” Leia said.

“By providing the support to small facilities, we’re able to build capacity in rural and remote areas and help keep clinicians skilled in the area. In addition, the money saved from not having to evacuate Chris to a tertiary centre essentially covers the budget of the rest of our service and can then be redirected within the system.”

The rest of the service is equally impressive, combining innovative technologies to provide macro clinical data and treatment so effective it can cure patients in as little as one visit.

Their immersive virtual reality balance assessor is the only one in a public hospital in the Southern Hemisphere and not only pinpoints the bodily systems causing dizziness but delivers more effective treatments for their recovery. While the multiaxial rotational chair can usually cure Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, after one treatment while also being less intensive on the patient.

“Our team is truly leading the way in vestibular care and I am so proud of the them and the things they have achieved,” Associate Professor Bernard Whitfield, Head of Logan ENT said.

“We’re constantly innovating and evolving practicing, and have gathered the data to prove these models work. Both from a patient safety perspective and the financial savings they can make for the broader health system.”

To learn more about Queensland’s pioneering Complex Vestibular Service, watch the latest episode of Clinical Excellence Stories on the Clinical Excellence Showcase website.

Last updated: 9 January 2023