26 September 2023

Emergency telehealth answers the call

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In an Australian first, non-urgent patients using Ambulance Victoria (AV) are to be assessed virtually by Emergency Department (ED) doctors and nurses from their home or workplace.

Announced by Minister for Health, Martin Foley, the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED) program is being rolled out across the State following a successful trial to help ease ED pressures and free up paramedics quicker.

“Paramedics attending a callout conduct an initial assessment and, if suitable, link the patient with the VVED for assessment on whether a trip to hospital is needed,” Mr Foley said.

“The service will be expanded across the State following the success of the project at Northern Hospital – with 87 per cent of people referred to the virtual service avoiding a trip in an ambulance to the hospital ED,” he said.

“Northern Hospital’s VVED team will accept referrals from Ambulance Victoria crews across the State and provide virtual clinical assessments, medical advice, treatment and, where required, local referrals to appropriate services for ongoing management.”

The Minister said under the program, COVID-19 patients could also be referred to the service through the COVID Positive Pathways program, which helped Victorians recover from the virus at home.

“The expansion of the virtual ED across the State will help relieve some of the challenges and demand our paramedics and emergency departments are facing due to COVID-19,” Mr Foley said.

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