The COVID-19 pandemic has meant we have had to find ways to keep our patients, employees and community safe while continuing to deliver high–quality care.
Trialling Virtual Care initially across our COVID-19 wards allows treating teams to conduct ward rounds, family meetings and specialist consults via video conferencing. We’ve recently expanded this capability to other teams including PICU and Gastromedicine.
How does it work?
Generally, a member of the team familiar with the patient’s care will be at the bedside supporting them to use an electronic tablet to connect with specialists, allied health and other health care members via Webex video conference. This might be as part of a ward round, facilitating a specialty consult or review.
The clinician in the room undertakes any clinical observations required and ensures strict infection prevention procedures are followed. One of the clinicians outside the room is responsible for recording in the patient’s Electronic Medical Record.
What are the benefits?
There are a range of benefits to using Virtual Care, both within the current COVID-19 context and beyond.
- Minimises risk of infection, particularly when working with patients diagnosed with COVID-19
- Forms a crucial part of preparedness for any future COVID-19 outbreaks
- Allows many furloughed or high-risk employees to continue working
- Supports increased flexibility across our work practices
- Preserves Personal Protective Equipment stock
- Allows senior clinicians to consult with patients at different sites without travel
For patients and families:
- Supports increased involvement in their care, particularly with restricted visiting hours
- Senior clinician involvement means timely decisions can be made and acted on quickly
- Increases access to specialists and consultants
Which wards are doing this?
We are currently trialling Virtual Care at wards in Monash Medical Centre, Casey Hospital and Dandenong Hospital. As these practices become further embedded, we are evaluating and assessing additional appropriate clinical areas to trial the initiative.
Where do we get more information?
For employees currently delivering Virtual Care, we’ve uploaded an extensive collection of Quick Reference Guides, available on the Employee COVID-19 website. Please note, these resources are for wards currently using Virtual Care with the support of the Virtual Care team.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be showcasing some of the benefits of Virtual Care in action.
If you would like further information about the initiative, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to your manager.
Approved by Emilio Pozo, Executive Director, Digital Health