Virtual hub launched in WA to support remote doctors and nurses

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday October 1, 2019

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A new health service that delivers emergency and specialty services to regional areas has launched in Western Australia.

The WA Country Health Service command centre is a “game changer” in its ability to support front-line clinicians who care for patients in regional WA, according to the state’s Health Minister Roger Cook.

“The command centre supports doctors and nurses in country hospitals and nursing posts by providing ready access to specialist clinicians who use technology, videoconferencing and real-time data to assist in delivering quality patient care,” he said.

“The expansion of services through the WA Country Health Service command centre ensures delivery of quality emergency and specialist care closer to home.”

The centre builds on WA’s Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS) by bringing together new and existing services in a virtual clinical hub. It provides rural and remote doctors and nurses with 24-hour access to a team of clinical specialists who have experience with country healthcare. The ETS currently supports emergency departments in 80 hospitals and nursing posts across the state. Access to the ETS will be expanded to additional hospitals and nursing posts within the command centre. 

An ETS for mental health commenced earlier this year, while an inpatient telehealth service has offered virtual ward rounds to patients in country hospitals when the local GP may be unavailable. Doctors and nurses in remote locations have also been able to access education support through simulation sessions, which the state government said would improve culture, staff retention and encourage a patient-focused workforce. 

Expanded services for the command centre will become available in 2020. They include coordination of patient transport requests, availability of specialist advice such as obstetrics and paediatrics, and the use of innovative technology to support patient assessment and ongoing clinical monitoring. 

  

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