EdHealth Australia Director, Jayne Lehmann worked at Flinders Medical Centre, where she did her Graduate Nurse year and then worked for 18 months on the diabetes ward. Jayne moved to the Diabetes Education Unit in 1986, initially working as the Registered Nurse, progressed to Clinical Nurse and onto the Clinical Nurse Consultant. Flinders Medical Centre provided a unique and broad clinical exposure to every type of diabetes care and education because of the paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology, medical and surgical services with inpatients and outpatients. Over the next ten years, Jayne cared for children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, women with gestational diabetes, women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. Experience was gained in inpatient and outpatient care of people with all types of diabetes and Jayne set-up a diabetes education satellite service at a local general practice.

Jayne had two daughters over this period of time and in 1996 she returned to work from maternity leave after the birth of her second daughter, Sarah. At 4 months of age, Sarah had her first seizure, beginning a journey towards a diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder causing unstable epilepsy, an intellectual disability, scoliosis, language disorders and oppositional behaviour. When the Nanny Jayne had trained to care for both her daughters resigned at the end of day 1 back at work, Jayne had resigned her position at Flinders before the end of the week.

The Early Years … Jayne Lehmann Diabetes Education Consultancy

Jayne explored continuing her career away from employed work, and used a Business Planning process to explore her options. She needed a flexible work environment that enabled her to care for her daughters, while enabling her to use and further develop her diabetes care and education skills.

At the end of 1996 Jayne registered her business name, ‘Jayne Lehmann Diabetes Education Consultancy’, and developed her home-based business. A range of South Australian and interstate organisations worked with Jayne to create diabetes policies, systems and education/training services.

Jayne designed, created and implemented customer diabetes education and support programs for pharmaceutical industry partners. These programs were trialed in South Australia and rolled out across Australia as some of the early customer support programs in primary healthcare, supporting people with diabetes in general practice and the community pharmacy settings.

Working from home gave Jayne the capacity to spend time with her girls, support Sarah’s therapy and health needs and create a small business offering consultancy and education services away from the hospital setting. Sarah’s challenges took Jayne and her family along a path that was to eventually influence the focus of her career and business. Jayne had another daughter along the way … so life was pretty busy!

Jayne collaborated with two other nurses running sole practitioner businesses in Adelaide to offer education programs for aged care staff, using the business name ‘EdHealth Australia’. When the collaboration dissolved, Jayne took over naming rights and re-named her business EdHealth Australia. A few years later, Jayne established herself as a brand people could rely on for innovative models of care, honest and entertaining commentary and as an innovator and leader of private practice models of care. She was appointed the Editor of the Australian Diabetes Educator’s Association (ADEA) Australian Diabetes Educator Magazine, which provided her with a national platform on which to inform and inspire ADEA members across Australia. People enjoyed the publication and reading the broad cross section of articles.

Jayne was one of the first Credentialled Diabetes Educators to set-up a private practice in Australia and helped establish and Chair the Australian Diabetes Educator’s Association Private Practice Special Interest Group. Jayne explored models of care to introduce diabetes education clinics in general practice after Credentialled Diabetes Educators were approved to apply for Medicare Provider numbers. This was the beginning of Medicare reimbursed services via the Enhanced Primary Care Chronic Disease Management program. Jayne had clinics running in 3 sites, including a specialised service for people with intellectual disability at Minda Inc. on the Minda Campus in Brighton, South Australia.

Jayne used a process of re-branding her business to establish a business initially focused as a sole practitioner, to establish EdHealth as a brand, delivering diabetes support services via the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) market.

The COVID 19 pandemic created a national need for online education, with lockdowns making it harder for people to come together for face-to-face training. Jayne was in the right place at the right time, preparing to launch an online version of the “Diabetes Care in the Community training program” presented as a face-to-face training. With the addition of a learning management system to the EdHealth website and creating an online education program, the Diabetes Care in the Community program – which has been updated and is now called the Diabetes 4 Disability online course. new opportunities EdHealth was able to capitalise on to increase its capacity to train support workers to provide support for their clients with intellectual disability, acquired brain injury and psycho-social disability. The Diabetes 4 Disability training program was already available on-line creating opportunities for the employment of administration support and sub-contracting of clinical staff to increase the capacity of EdHealth Australia to deliver high quality diabetes support and training services across Australia. Re-branding over a to create an entity that could, over time, transition from one focused on Jayne, to an entity in itself.