- The McGowan Government announces latest innovation in country healthcare, the WA Country Health Service Command Centre
- The Command Centre supports country clinicians in 24/7 patient care and coordination using telehealth, videoconferencing and real-time data
- Funded through the McGowan Government's Country Health Innovation funding
Health Minister Roger Cook today announced the Western Australian Country Health Service (WACHS) Command Centre as the latest innovation in country healthcare, providing the emergency and specialty services to support front-line clinicians caring for patients in regional WA.
Building on the success of the award winning Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS), the WACHS Command Centre brings together new and existing services in a virtual clinical hub. Since the inception of ETS it has enabled more than 90,000 consultations.
The service provides rural and remote doctors and nurses with 24/7 access to a dedicated team of clinical specialists who understand country healthcare and its challenges and are ready to support local clinicians whenever they need assistance.
Existing telehealth services provided by the WA Country Health Service are expanding under the Command Centre model. New services will be added in 2020, improving equity of access for country people to a digitally enabled, flexible and dedicated specialist clinical workforce.
ETS currently provides clinical expertise to support emergency department presentations for 80 hospitals and nursing posts across WA, averaging 360 consultations a week. Within the WA Country Health Service Command Centre, access to ETS will be expanded to additional hospitals and nursing posts across the State, including the use of technologies to support remote patient assessments.
Clinical education support is also delivered to doctors and nurses in rural and remote locations through education and clinical simulation sessions, improving culture and staff retention and contributing to creating a patient-focused workforce.
The new Mental Health ETS commenced in July and has already had a significant impact, providing WA regional front-line clinicians caring for people experiencing a mental health crisis with access to specialist mental health nurses and psychiatrists.
Another Command Centre innovation, the Inpatient Telehealth Service, offers virtual ward rounds to patients admitted to country hospitals when the local GP may be unavailable, resulting in about 93 per cent of Inpatient Telehealth Service country patients avoiding transfer to other hospitals, keeping them closer to home.
The Command Centre's expanded services currently under development, and due to commence in 2020, include co-ordination of patient transport requests, availability of specialist advice such as obstetrics and paediatrics, and the use of innovative technology to support patient assessment and ongoing clinical monitoring.
The development and co-ordination of these services under the Command Centre is a WA Country Health Service digital innovation priority, resourced through the McGowan Government's Country Health Innovation funding.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The Command Centre really is a 'game-changer' in delivering safe, quality care to country patients.
"The Command Centre supports doctors and nurses in country hospitals and nursing posts by providing ready access to specialist clinicians who use technology, videoconferencing and real-time data to assist in delivering quality patient care.
"Being on country or in your own community, close to family and friends is important when receiving health care - this is all part of this Government's commitment to putting patients first.
"The expansion of services through the WA Country Health Service Command Centre ensures delivery of quality emergency and specialist care closer to home."
Minister's office - 6552 6500