Qld hospital begins remote consultation in COVID-19 wards
Gold Coast Health has implemented virtual care technology to support remote consultations in COVID-19 wards via a bedside terminal. The announcement follows last month’s Public Health Direction from the Queensland Government outlining a best practice approach to managing safety for patients and staff within designated COVID-19 hospitals.
Gold Coast Health deployed Rauland Australia’s Concierge platform at Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) to reduce patient contact in the COVID-19 ward. Patients and staff can communicate face to face via the bedside terminal with no human contact.
Gold Coast Health’s Clinical Director overseeing the COVID-19 ward, Dr Kylie Alcorn, said, “The virtual care capability was recently added to the platform to enable staff to easily communicate with patients using videoconferencing without creating the risk of entering patient areas. It is one thing to talk on the phone to a patient while looking at their observations on a computer screen, but to see the patient, even virtually, gives the treating doctor a more complete picture as well as cementing a therapeutic doctor–patient relationship that is hard to do on the phone.”
Evidence dictates that restricting hospital visitors and moving as many interactions as possible to virtual channels can help to protect healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19.
According to Medicare Group Reports (Category 1: all professional attendees for July 2018–June 2019), virtual care attendances in hospitals accounted for less than 0.1% of all federally funded attendances in Australia before COVID-19.
Vickie Knight, Clinical Services Executive at Rauland Australia, said, “Most of the healthcare sector is currently experiencing a shortage of staff due to the pandemic. Positive COVID-19 cases in hospitals and aged-care facilities have taken out entire shifts of staff and, in several cases, there are no backup casual staff to fill the roster. Staff are fearful and wanting to protect their families. Virtual care is minimising face-to-face contact nursing, therefore reducing exposure risk. Patients have adapted to virtual care and satisfaction is high.”
The Concierge platform is a combination of Siemens HiMed bedside terminals and Rauland’s Concierge software and services. The platform delivers significant value to health services through supporting patient engagement. Features in use at GCUH include telehealth, on-demand patient education, patient information, electronic meal ordering, patient communications and entertainment.
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