Clinical consultations at a safe distance

1 December 2021

eHealth NSW continues to innovate around telehealth services to help protect our hospitals, their staff and patients from unnecessary risk of infection.

One small but important initiative has been the installation of new collaboration technology in two rooms at Royal North Shore Hospital. These rooms are proving instrumental in facilitating effective multidisciplinary meetings between clinicians and patients – from a safe distance.

Clinical Nurse Consultant at Royal North Shore Hospital, Heather Thom said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the telehealth rooms have allowed patients and clinicians to attend meetings and reduce face-to-face contact.

The rooms have also given patients the option to stay connected with family during periods of restricted visits and travel.

“We have been able to help rural patients maintain contact with remote family members through the rooms and new telehealth initiatives on the ward. Over 50 per cent of our patients are from outside the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD), so the opportunity for them to remain connected to remote families is priceless.

“By having a reliable remote system with audio and visual options we can continue to have collaborative discussions around patient care plans, treatment options and follow ups. This has meant we are decreasing delays relating to formulation of care plans, providing specialist advice and arranging treatment options,” Heather said.

Every patient discussed in the various Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings will benefit as it means their care plans and discharge plans are still discussed through collaboration despite clinicians having restricted movement and reduced attendance on-site.

In the future, RNS predicts greater use by patients and families as the idea and acceptance of remote connection is further embraced.

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