Revolutionary virtual hospital allows patients to receive at home treatment

Jun 13, 2023
SA virtual hospital treats patients from the comforts of their home. Source: Getty

Adelaide may very well be leading the way into the future of Australian healthcare with their groundbreaking virtual hospital that brings medical treatment right to your doorstep.

Imagine receiving expert care from the comfort of your home, nestled in your bed, while highly trained nurses conduct virtual ward rounds. It may sound like a scene straight out of a SciFi movie, but this revolutionary concept is now a reality for hundreds of patients at My Home Hospital.

The hospital is a joint venture launched by Calvary and Medibank in collaboration with SA Health.

This innovative program not only ensures that emergency departments and wards are available for those in urgent need, but it also allows patients to receive visits from healthcare professionals in the comfort of their own homes.

In the event of a medical emergency, a paramedic can be dispatched, ensuring that the patient receives the necessary care whenever it’s required.

Executive medical director Dr Emily Kirkpartik says everything from reviewing wounds to blood tests can all be done at the patient’s home.

“These patients can be really unwell often needing blood tests, imaging, oxygen therapy. All of that we deliver directly to the patient in their home,” Kirkpatrick said.

“We see this being a true game changer as to how we’re going to deliver future health care in this nation.”

While virtual wards do exist in certain hospitals, My Home Hospital is currently the only nationally-accredited standalone operator.

Speaking to 9News, Federal Health Minister Mark Butler says he’s already keeping an eye on the virtual hospital “to see how it might be adapted to further improve the accessibility of services across Australia.”

However, the transition to virtual hospitals may be happening sooner rather than later, as a new digital health project led by Flinders University is currently in the works to provide affordable and effective medical care to people with chronic diseases.

“With the unrelenting pressure on our healthcare system, and aging population, we will be focusing on creating a robust primary care framework for people living with high needs, such as heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” Chief Investigator and Flinders University Professor from the College of Nursing and Health Science,  Robyn Clark said.

“Along with providing quality care in the home setting, we aim to improve the everyday quality of life for these patients by giving them more regular health checks and access to professional help.”

The $1 million project aims to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of virtual care and telemonitoring, with the goal of reducing emergency department visits, hospital admissions, GP clinic waiting times, and ambulance ramping.

Dr John Maddison, the Executive Director of Medical Services at the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, also adds that “embracing technology and linking general practice with hospital care is the best way to keep our patients safe at home, which is better for patients and also helps take the pressure off our emergency departments.”

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