This was a scaling project supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.
- Mildura Base Hospital (champion organisation)
- Alfred Hospital (critical care support)
- Bairnsdale Regional Health Service
- Central Gippsland Health
- Wimmera Health Care Group
In 2016–17, Mildura Base Hospital, a regional health service, implemented a telehealth model for its intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
The model used videoconferencing technology to connect the Mildura Base Hospital ICU to 24/7 support from adult intensivists at the Alfred Hospital, nephrologists at Melbourne Health, and paediatric intensivists through the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) system – all of which are located in metropolitan Melbourne.
The 2019–20 Critical care telehealth scaling project expanded the telehealth model to three more health services with the goal of improving critical care for regional and rural patients and reducing avoidable transfers to Melbourne.
The 2016–17 Mildura Base Hospital Critical care telehealth project achieved the following results:
- avoided 34 ICU and renal patient transfers
- reduced bed demand at tertiary health services
- saved $287,000 in costs by reducing patient transfers
- implemented a collaborative approach that ensured Mildura Base Hospital’s ICU care was comparable to tertiary centres in Melbourne
- delivered more than 160 telehealth consultations and capability-building opportunities for medical and nursing staff.
- Decrease avoidable patient transfers from regional critical care services to metropolitan critical care services by providing tertiary centre support via telehealth
- Measure consumer experience in regional critical care services
- Improve critical care staff satisfaction in regional critical care services
- Deliver critical care education relevant to regional critical care clinicians
- Assist with the clinical governance activities of the regional critical care services
- Delivered 123 consults, providing opinion and/or management advice and plans
- Avoided nine patient transfers to metropolitan ICUs
- Facilitated three transfers to metropolitan ICUs with reduced urgency
- Delivered 26 education sessions to rural high dependency units (HDUs) to enhance staff knowledge and confidence in their skills
- Organised for the review of HDU clinical guidance
- Saved more than 7,660km of travel for families
- Received positive consumer feedback from patients and families