COPE Taps Optus Business Towards Fight Against Perinatal Mental Health

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Optus Business has announced it will deliver IT services and devices to the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) to help extend the reach of the national not-for-profit’s unique digital screening solution, iCOPE.

Improved mental health screening
COPE equips front line health professionals, including obstetricians, general practitioners, midwives, maternal and child health family health nurses, with knowledge and tools to identify and manage mental health problems commonly experienced during pregnancy and in the year following birth (known as the perinatal period).

In line with the recommendations of the Australian 2017 National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline, every pregnant woman and new mother should be routinely screened to assess her risk of developing mental health problems at this time of life. Until now, screening has been conducted via paper formats, limiting reach, accuracy, and the early detection of these debilitating conditions.

“The perinatal period is the time in a woman’s life when she is most likely to experience a mental health condition and is at increased risk of other social factors – including substance misuse and family violence,” said Dr Nicole Highet, Founder and Executive Director of COPE.

“iCOPE is an interactive digital screening platform developed in response to glaring gaps in perinatal services. Health professionals can now access the latest recommended screening and assessment tools on tablet devices, allowing the process to be completed in a matter of minutes,” added Dr Highet.

“Optus Business is proud to assist COPE in tackling the emotional and mental health problems linked to the perinatal period. The Optus network services and devices empower COPE to rapidly and simply meet the growing demand for the iCOPE solution, so that more families can benefit from this innovative use of technology,” said John Paitaridis, Managing Director, Optus Business.

“Technology is changing the way we work and live and the iCOPE solution is a great example of how we can harness the power of technology and connectivity to deliver improved accuracy and real time reporting for such an important health care initiative.”

The innovative approach simplifies the overall screening process, reduces the pressures placed on professionals, generates instant clinical and patient reports with 100% accuracy, and collects data in real time to inform screening rates and outcomes within and across settings. The iCOPE Platform also facilitates screening in thirteen languages, empowering patients with access to screening and personal reporting in their own language.


The sensitive nature of the information captured in this process means cyber-protection was a top priority for both Cope and Optus.

All of iCOPE’s stored data will be hosted on Optus Managed Cloud (OMC) in the Optus Data Centre in Melbourne. For a tablet to access the application, it must connect from the client site using an APN (secure private connection) using an Optus 4G SIM. Optus-managed firewall will manage workflows for secure the movement of information.

Backed by Optus

Under the two-year agreement, Optus Business will provide COPE with fixed and mobile network services, empowering practitioners to access iCOPE, which was created by Convenience Advertising, on mobile devices.

Optus Business will also supply iPads to COPE’s network of practitioners. Expected uptake will greatly assist the growth of the iCOPE platform in Australia.

“At the centre of this initiative is an investment into the improved support of pregnant women, new mothers and their families. The support from Optus Business reflects this, and the capabilities of the network services equip COPE with the ability to scale our operations to meet the growing demand we are experiencing. This enables us to support health professionals in the delivery of best practice and ensuring emotional and mental health of pregnant women and new mothers remains a national priority,” said Dr Highet.