Use of telehealth has increased significantly during the pandemic. Read how we are supporting advances in virtual care and how to get involved.
Between February and April 2020, NSW Health recorded an increased uptake in the use of videoconferencing by 641% and peer-to-peer calls by 1,060%, compared with the same period last year.
In response to this, a new multi-agency business unit – the Virtual Care Accelerator – has been established, including eHealth, the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), local health districts, specialty health networks, the Ministry of Health and other NSW Health pillars.
The Virtual Care Accelerator is responsible for taking the lessons learned about our use of virtual care to date (and through our COVID-19 response) to ensure patients can continue to benefit from innovative, virtually-enabled models of care that address key health challenges across NSW.
The ACI is supporting initiatives of the Virtual Care Accelerator over the next 12 months. It will provide expertise to ensure engagement of clinical networks and consumers; support the promotion of existing exemplar models of care; and support key initiatives that relate to the Accelerator’s key focus areas.
Increasing telehealth capability
The Ministry of Health is overseeing the monitoring and evaluation of services delivered using telehealth modalities. This will provide a consistent approach across NSW to support services to understand the impact and value of virtual care, and use the data to support continuous improvement and learnings for the broader health system.
In addition, the ACI continues to develop resources and host virtual forums in response to system needs. The forums aim to share telehealth knowledge across the system; provide targeted networking opportunities; address clinician needs by offering advice about specific topics, such as safety; and promote and share virtual models of care. For more information and to register for events, visit the Telehealth Capability Interest Group web page.
NSW Health has introduced, and is now scaling up, the use of myVirtualCare (myVC). This purpose-built clinical videoconferencing portal allows clinicians to assess and manage their patients in a way that better supports the clinical workflow. It also enables patients, carers and care providers to be included in the patients’ care from their homes or other suitable locations.
Patients using myVC have been reporting very positive feedback via the patient experience survey. They have highlighted the interface is easy to use and that myVC allows them to access their clinician wherever is most convenient.
myVC training modules are available in My Health Learning, with ACI offering virtual training in the coming months. Clinicians wanting to find out more about myVC should speak with their local Telehealth Manager or lead.
Support the Virtual Care Community of Practice
The Virtual Care Community of Practice (CoP) was established to provide ongoing leadership and expertise in the rapidly changing space for clinicians who are integrating virtual care into their practice.
The Clinical Lead is Dr Shannon Nott, Clinical Director of the Virtual Care Accelerator and the Rural Health Director of Medical Services, Western NSW LHD.
The CoP is connecting to ACI clinical networks, clinical communities of practice and through our broader health and educational external partnerships.
To get involved and support the Virtual Care CoP, emailing your interest to ACI-VirtualCare@health.nsw.gov.au