Northern Health expands virtual emergency care across Victoria in Oz

Northern Health, a key provider of public health care in Melbourne’s northern region in Australia, has partnered with the New Zealand-based digital health innovator The Clinician to develop a patient registration and intake platform as part of the statewide expansion of the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED). 

Through this service, patients can access non-critical emergency care on their own devices, in the comfort of their own homes. The Clinician’s digital health platform (ZEDOC) has been configured to provide the VVED with a streamlined digital patient intake solution and clinical tracking dashboard for timely access to virtual emergency care.

The Clinician has been working with Northern Health to replace the VVED’s original intake technology with an improved digital front door solution. 

Launched in April 2022, individuals seeking non-urgent medical care can now register their details and complete a digital health screening assessment on their own devices. Through ZEDOC’s tracking dashboard, VVED staff can access intake results immediately for triage and follow up patients via video call.

Taking less than eights weeks from ideation to implementation, The Clinician team worked with Northern Health to include important features such as a registration form available in 22 different languages as well as SMS verification, automated clinical tracking, and a streamlined integration with HealthDirect’s telehealth service. 

Currently, the new solution is being used by more than 200 clinical and clerical staff, who can access it onsite or remotely. 

The VVED has quadrupled its capacity from 50-60 patients per day since the expansion commenced, to over 250 patients per day. The Clinician’s ZEDOC solution is helping to manage this increase. 

The expansion of the VVED across the entire state of Victoria has resulted in average wait times of 30 minutes to see a triage nurse via telehealth.

Another result is an 80% discharge rate from the virtual ED, with 40% directed to other services and 40% discharged outright.

“We see this as a great example of how our platform can be flexibly configured to the unique digital health needs of hospitals and healthcare services and look forward to extending our digital transformation work with Northern Health into other exciting areas,” said Tamaryn Hankinson, chief commercial officer and co-founder of The Clinician.

As part of the partnership, a patient-reported experience measure (PREM) has recently been added, and integrations with existing health information systems are being planned. 

Northern Health also plans to leverage The Clinician’s solution to support Ambulatory and other Healthcare Professional services across the hospital.