eHealth NSW and its key partners are accelerating and optimising the use of virtual care across NSW to safely connect patients with health professionals, delivering care when and where it’s needed.
The Virtual Care Accelerator is a new multiagency and clinically-focused unit established to ensure patients have full access to the best that telehealth-enabled models of care and remote monitoring have to offer – both during the acute response to COVID-19 and beyond.
Virtual care to deliver best practice healthcare
Telehealth, video conferencing, remote monitoring and store and forward telemedicine (collecting clinical records and digitally sending them for review by senior medical practitioners at another site) are examples of virtual care.
According to Dr Shannon Nott, Clinical Director of the Virtual Care Accelerator, virtual care is designed to complement existing services by using technology to connect patients with clinical expertise.
“Healthcare professionals have been using technology to deliver care to patients for decades. Now, with advances in technology, the support for health professionals and benefits for patients are even greater,” he said.
“Virtual care enhances access to health services, particularly specialist services, and provides patients with more choice about how and where they receive that care.”
According to Program Director, Ian Schrader, the Virtual Care Accelerator has achieved a lot in a short time, and is now laying the foundation for the next five years.
Some of these achievements include:
- Developed a COVID-19 response strategy
- Rapidly upgraded the data centre capacity for the huge video and telehealth uptake
- Procured and distributed iPads for use in virtual care activities, in particular ensuring isolated patients stay connected, especially during COVID-19
- Implemented myVirtualCare a clinical waiting room and video-consultation platform
- Consulted and commenced rollout of the new critical care cameras and network providing clinicians with access 24/7 to specialist critical care advice
- Consulted broadly with NSW Health LHDs/SHNs on their virtual care needs, and offered support via a successful Expression of Interest process
- Consulted industry for remote patient monitoring platform capabilities to deliver a panel of suitable patient remote monitoring solutions
- Consulted and commenced the write up of virtual care exemplar models of care that will be shared across the state.
“During COVID-19 we saw unprecedented demand for virtual care services. We want to ensure that this significant investment benefits clinicians, patients, their families and the community for years to come,” Mr Schrader said.