Health professionals around Australia know that demand for hospital beds is outstripping supply.
In fact the only state or territory that has increased beds per capita since 2006 is the ACT.1
Powered by advanced technology, Virtual Health Monitoring enables clinicians to deliver exceptional quality of care to patients in their own homes. This allows hospitals to free up beds that would otherwise be occupied. For Melissa Mccusker, Assistant Director of Nursing, Acute Care@Home (a division of Queensland’s Metro South Hospital and Health Service), this solution couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Our population is ageing and an increase in chronic health conditions means the demand for our acute beds is outstripping supply. We can't continue to keep building more hospitals, that's not going to solve our problems, so we need to look at alternative models of care,” she explains.
More regular observation means richer data and better patient outcomes
Melissa oversaw the implementation of Virtual Health Monitoring at Metro South Health in 2018, a health district that services 23 per cent of Queensland’s population.2 With Virtual Health Monitoring, Melissa’s staff can now monitor their hospital-in-the-home cohort more regularly, which has improved patient satisfaction.
“We're able to monitor our patients, three, four or five times a day virtually, which is something we haven't been able to do before. The service has enabled patients to feel more confident and more engaged in their care,” says Melissa.
For Vickie De Jong, Clinical Nurse, Acute Care@Home, Redland Hospital, access to real-time patient data through Virtual Health Monitoring has enabled her to see a more complete picture of a patient’s health status. “We’ve changed from a reactive to a proactive approach in monitoring a patient’s health data and acting upon it accordingly.”
“Clinicians have the ability to monitor patient health and treatment progress and catch any patient deterioration early. Conversely we can sooner see when a patient is feeling better,” says Vickie.
Virtual Monitoring is supporting growth and sustainability of the Acute Care@Home program
Virtual Health Monitoring is proven to increase clinical and operational efficiency. It can improve patient flow, reduce repeat presentations to emergency departments and shorten patient length of stay. “We've been able to be more efficient with our resourcing. That's meant improved access flow for the facility and also a cost reduction in our service, even though we're taking on more patients,” explains Melissa. Since implementation in 2018, Metro South Health has experienced cost savings of $177.59 on average per admission compared to traditional model of care.
Happier, more confident patients
Virtual Health Monitoring isn’t only winning over clinicians. Patient surveys have reported overwhelming satisfaction and comfort in using the solution. 97 per cent of patients described Virtual Health Monitoring technology as ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’ to use, and 100 per cent of patients were ‘very’ or ‘mostly’ satisfied with the overall service.* Melissa believes these results are due to patients feeling comfortable in their own homes, and more confident in their care thanks to regular monitoring of their health.
“Patients often say to us that the best bed is your own bed, so it’s good to be able to provide a service that not only facilitates that, but enables patients to feel more confident and engaged in their care,” she says.
*Acute Care@Home Trial (65 Participants)