Five new healthcare projects will receive a combined $2.35 million from the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund. The innovations include use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technology to deliver better quality care to Victorians.
Announcing the funding, Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said, “We are always looking for new, cutting edge ways to innovate and deliver the very best and safest care – because all Victorians deserve access to world class treatment when they need it most, no matter where they live.”
Analytics improve chronic disease consequences (ACDC)
The ACDC project will build on Northern Health’s existing ‘Staying Well’ initiative, which focuses on helping people with complex chronic conditions maintain their wellbeing instead of waiting until they need to come to hospital. Machine learning will be used to more accurately predict people at high risk of multiple unplanned hospital admissions and to detect deterioration in their health, allowing for proactive delivery of care.
Artificial intelligence in cardiac arrest (AIDE)
When cardiac arrest occurs outside of hospital, the person who takes the emergency call can be key to determining the patient’s outcome. Ambulance Victoria will use artificial intelligence to analyse incoming emergency calls and notify the call-taker of a potential cardiac arrest. The ESTA Triple Zero (000) call-taker can then respond accordingly, such as by dispatching a high-priority ambulance and talking a bystander through the delivery of immediate CPR or defibrillation. If cardiac arrest is recognised early and intervention is delivered quickly, the patient is more likely to survive and the chance of brain damage is reduced.
Hospitals and patients working in unity (HOW-R-U?)
Older people experiencing social isolation, loneliness or depressive symptoms are more likely to be at risk of poor health and increased hospitalisation. Lack of routine screening of these factors upon hospital admission means older people are often discharged with inadequate social support. HOW-R-U? will identify older patients admitted to Northern Hospital who are experiencing social isolation and match them with a volunteer who will provide telephone support weekly for 12 weeks after discharge to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
Live better! persistent pain learning management system
Participants have found Austin Health’s Pain Service helpful in understanding and learning how to live with persistent pain. However, the program’s in-person group format does not always meet individual patients’ needs, there can be long wait times, and travelling to the hospital can be difficult. The Live better! online learning management system will provide an alternative way for patients to access information and resources on how to live with pain day-to-day. Patients will be able to choose between group education or online education and self-management strategies that can be tailored to their individual needs and completed at their own pace.
Telemental health pilot (Tele-HELP)
The limitations of voice-only triage mean that many people who call Triple Zero (000) with a mental health concern can often end up being transported to an emergency department by ambulance. This can cause distress and delay face-to-face specialist care. Ambulance Victoria’s Tele-HELP project will provide mental health-related emergency callers with an option to use SMS to initiate a video call. This will connect them with an experienced mental health nurse who will be able to provide face-to-face care, allowing the nurse to more accurately assess and triage the caller.
To date, the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund has allocated $16.2 million to 42 healthcare innovation projects.
The Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund was established in 2016 to drive and support healthcare innovations that improve patient outcomes. The fund is administered by Safer Care Victoria, the state’s lead agency for improving quality and safety in Victorian healthcare.
A full list of funded projects can be viewed on the Better Care Victoria website.