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On the road with PJ Connolly

PJ Connolly at Tennant Creek

The rise and adoption of digital communication means that collaboration across different locations is now easier than ever. For Paul ‘PJ’ Connolly, Senior Training Specialist at Communicare, however, digital and in-person support are equally important, and help ensure that users are getting the most from the Communicare software. In this article PJ to fills us in on the highlights of his recent trip to the Northern Territory.

I’ve recently returned from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory where I was visiting Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation (Anyinginyi Health). Anyinginyi Health provides primary health care services to the people of Tennant Creek and the surrounding Barkly region. Tennant Creek is around 1,000 kilometres south of Darwin and around 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs. After 3,426km in the air from Perth to Adelaide to Alice Springs, I then made the approx 500km trip to Tennant Creek by road. During winter, it’s a warm and sunny 25-30 degrees during the day.

It was my first time visiting and I was really surprised at the size of Tennant Creek. It’s quite a big country town with a local RSL, footy oval, rec centre, pool, servos, medical facilities, huge school and all of the services you’d expect from a much bigger town - though no traffic lights!


The town has a population of almost 3,000. Local Aboriginal groups, including the Warumungu, Warlpiri, Kaytetye and Alyawarre people call the area home and have for thousands of years.

Anyinginyi Health runs the local sport and recreation centre and supports the AFL oval where I was lucky enough to watch some of the first round matches of the Barkly Cup while I was there. Anyinginyi Health also own a number of properties in town and run a number of programs and clinics out of these.

Anyinginyi Health are long time, and experienced users of Communicare. They have just upgraded to Communicare version 18.3, so we needed to update the staff on the new functionality. On this particular trip I worked with the new group of system administrators and took them through 3 days of advanced training. I then met with the doctors, nurses and other health workers for half a day, and then reception staff for half a day as well.


You might be wondering - is it really worth travelling thousands of kilometres for training that could be delivered at long distance with the help of technology? I personally think in-person training is important to support Communicare users in getting the most out of the software. 

Communicare is Australia’s leading, fully integrated patient information solution for community health services. The solution has been supporting indigenous and remote populations – where models of healthcare can be complex – since 1994. So to get up-to-speed on the full functionality and all the advanced features, I believe in-depth, in-person training is most ideal. Also our users are getting busier and busier, and in-person sessions mean that time is specifically dedicated to focus on training.

These sessions are also invaluable for getting user feedback on the software. Our development team are consistently working to improve Communicare, and capturing new requirements directly from those using the system day-to-day is the best way to identify key focus areas.

After a great visit and cultural experience, I had to fly to Melbourne to get back to Perth (a lazy 5,037 km in the air over 10 hours of flights). While I often think it might be easier to relocate to the East Coast, I do love returning home to Perth!


About Paul ‘PJ’ Connolly

Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Certificate IV TAA, APMG Change Management Foundations, ITIL V3 Foundations. PJ (as he likes to be known) has 20+ years’ experience in training, education and human behaviour, making him well placed to support your organisation’s training.

For more information about Communicare, or to contact the Communicare training team click here

Pictured in article:
1. PJ and Clinton Franklin, Digital Health Advisor, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT)
2.  Anyinginyi Health Centr
3.  Welcome to Warumungu Country sign in town