27 September 2023

COVID telehealth program to go Statewide

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A Health and Hospital Service initiative set up during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is to be expanded to cover all of Queensland.

Metro North Health has refined its Virtual Emergency Department which has proven so successful it is to be offered to everyone in the State.

Minister for Health and Ambulances, Yvette D’Ath said the telehealth treatment service would be available for people needing urgent but non-life-threatening care.

“This is already making a difference in Brisbane’s north-side and we want to replicate that success around Queensland,” Ms D’Ath said.

“It’s not only relieving demand on our busy emergency departments, it’s providing a streamlined and comfortable service to patients in their own home by allowing people to access expert clinical advice remotely.”

She said the initiative also limited the number of people with contagious illnesses like COVID-19 from presenting at hospitals, protecting health professionals from exposure.

“It’s another example of how the Queensland Health and Hospitals Plan is embracing technology and other innovations to provide a world-class health system, and I congratulate Metro North Health for pioneering this model,” Ms D’Ath said.

“The service will be run by senior hospital emergency department staff experienced in triaging and diagnosing a multitude of emergency conditions. They will be available to treat, refer and prescribe medication accordingly for the patients.”

The Virtual Emergency Department service comes under the umbrella of the Connected Community Pathways initiative, a commitment to improve clinical care.

Metro North Health ED Consultant, Kim Hansen said the extension of the service was set to benefit both patients and the health system alike.

“Common problems that we see and manage include COVID-19, common respiratory illness, children with fevers, gastroenteritis, minor injuries, vertigo, high blood pressure and back pain — anything you’d go to the emergency department for that can be assessed over a video call,” Dr Hansen (pictured) said.

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