The Victorian Government has funded a range of telehealth initiatives. These include:

Current Projects

Round two Telehealth Specialist Clinic Initiative Projects - commenced March 2018

Albury Wodonga Health - Increasing access to psychiatry specialist clinics project

Albury Wodonga Health will work in collaboration with partners in Mansfield District Hospital, Upper Murray Community Services, Beechworth Health Service, Alpine Health and Benalla Health to further expand telehealth services, to provide a timely and responsive Mental Health service for patients accessing specialist clinics.

Alfred Health - A place based approach to telehealth in East Gippsland project

Alfred Health will collaborate with the Gippsland Primary Health Network and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service to expand telehealth services delivered to the East Gippsland region and improved access to speciality services.

Alfred Health Telehealth Homepage

Alfred Health - Better Access to Geriatrician Care for Frail Older Adults

Alfred Health will improve access to Geriatric Clinic consultations utilising telehealth for patients residing at home and in residential aged care facilities (metropolitan or regional Victoria), who are unable or find it difficult to attend face-to-face Geriatric Clinics due to travelling distance and limited mobility. Alfred Health will also develop a partnership with Bass Coast Health – Wonthaggi Hospital to deliver telehealth Geriatric Clinics to older adults in the Bass Coast area.

Austin Health Telehealth enabled patient transfer diversion project

Austin Health will expand Telehealth enabled access to Austin Health Specialist Clinics with a focus on reducing cost and risks to clients, staff and services associated with patient transfers. Austin Health will work in collaboration with Forensicare to reduce the need to transfer patients from the Thomas Embling Hospital (a high security forensic mental health hospital) for their specialist care. Telehealth will also be enabled across Austin Health campuses, aiming to reduce the need for inter-campus patient transfers. Austin Health will continue to expand the range of specialist clinic units offering enhanced patient and family experience and accessible, safe, quality care via Telehealth.

Austin Health Homepage

Ballarat Health Services Telehealth Specialist Clinic Project

Ballarat Health Service will establish a telehealth service to provide timely access to patients in specialist outpatient clinics and reduce the number of patients failing to attend.  The target group are patients who require a review appointment only.

Ballarat Health Services Homepage

Barwon Health - Sustaining and embedding telehealth access to specialist clinics – addressing implementation barriers in the Barwon South West region project

Health Services in the Barwon South West region will work to further enhance the provision and expand availability of telehealth access to specialist clinics, at Barwon Health, Colac Area Health, Portland District Health, South West Healthcare and Western District Health Services, among others.

Barwon South West Telehealth Homepage

Bendigo Health - Loddon Mallee Tele Fractures Clinic project

Bendigo Health provides the only public health fractures clinic in the Loddon-Mallee region.  Bendigo Health will work in collaboration with Swan Hill District Health, Kyabram District Health Service, Echuca Regional Health & Loddon Mallee Rural Health Alliance to establish a tele-fractures clinic to promote access for patients.

Bendigo Health Telehealth Homepage

Central Gippsland Health Paediatric telehealth - Gippsland Boorai & Youth Health Direct project

Central Gippsland Health will deliver an integrated paediatric telehealth service to provide timely and appropriate care for the paediatric population residing within the Wellington, East Gippsland and South Gippsland regions. This service includes, but is not limited to, outpatients and inpatients in these regions.  Benefits of paediatric telehealth service provision include time saving for clinician travel to outreach destinations, so more hours can be dedicated to block telehealth sessions.  The direct benefits for patients, families and carers are time and costs savings in terms of travel, time off work and school and disruption to routine.

Latrobe Regional Hospital - Gaining ground in Gippsland: a telehealth model for localised care project

Latrobe Regional Hospital will work with Bass Coast Health, Gippsland Southern Health Service and the Gippsland Health Alliance to improve access to specialist outpatient clinic appointments at Latrobe Regional Hospital, specifically within the areas of oncology and pre-admission respectively, and improve the utilisation and efficiency of the outpatient clinics by reducing the number of patients who fail to attend. 

Latrobe Regional Hospital Telehealth

Melbourne Health - The Royal Park Telehealth Implementation Support Team Project

With an ageing population demand for specialist rehabilitation services and community based care programs is at an unprecedented high. The Royal Park Telehealth Implementation Support Team project will facilitate the integration of telehealth into the Royal Park Rehabilitation Campus.  Priority patient cohorts will be those receiving care for stroke, orthopaedic injury and chronic pain. 

Key benefits will be:

  • Improved clinical collaboration across the organisation
  • Staff and patient savings in time and travel (between campuses and also post discharge)
  • Increased timely access to specialist care services for regional and outer metropolitan patients

Melbourne Health Telehealth Homepage

Monash Health (MH) Expansion of Telehealth service for Adults projects

Monash Health will partner with Bairnsdale Regional Health, Bass Coast Health, Central Gippsland HS and  Latrobe Regional Hospital to upscale the already existing paediatric telehealth platform to establish a similar telehealth program for adults.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre - Peter Mac telehealth – Cancer care closer to home project

Through partnership with the Wimmera Southern Mallee Health Alliance, Peter Mac will explore and develop a) modes of delivering education more effectively through a clinician-supported  eLearning approach for patients about to commence chemotherapy; b) models for scheduled pre-chemo review appointments by telehealth and c) unplanned consultations by telehealth to quickly address significant treatment side-effects. Consultations may include a specialist oncology nurse in the Wimmera, the patients usual GP or another healthcare professional.

Peter Mac Pre Assessment Clinic (PAC) will develop models of identifying patients suitable for pre-surgical assessment and workup by telehealth with the possibility of also including a clinician-supported eLearning educational component by telehealth.

Peter Mac volunteers will help raise awareness of telehealth with regional patients and help them get set up if needed.  A model will be developed to build this in to routine volunteer services. The aim is to be able to scale all initiatives.

Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital - Expanding telehealth to high volume, low complexity clinics in a tertiary specialist hospital project

The purpose of the project is to provide telehealth in high volume, low complexity specialist clinics. This is aimed at the Acute Ophthalmology Service and its phone review, specific components of the Surgical Ophthalmology Service and 3 pre-admission clinics (anaesthetist-led, nurse-led and nurse-led phone appointments).

Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital Telehealth Homepage

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne - St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Victorian Telehealth Specialist Clinic project

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne will work in collaboration with partners to leverage established telehealth services to improve access for public patients in outer metropolitan area and regional Victoria.  Initially post arthroplasty review, osteoarthritis, cardiology, endocrinology, urology, gastroenterology and pain and disability specialist clinics have been identified as being part of this telehealth pilot project.

Wimmera Health Care Group - Wimmera Rural Cancer Care Tele-Coordination Program Project

The Wimmera Southern Mallee Health Alliance (Edenhope & District Memorial Hospital, Rural Northwest Health, West Wimmera Health Service and Wimmera Health Care Group) will collaborate regionally and onto the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to support patients with a cancer diagnosis to access coordinated telehealth services.

Other Telehealth Unit Funded Projects

Telehealth Victoria Community of Practice

The 12 month project will collaborate with DHHS funded projects, the DHHS and members to develop and make available a telehealth resource kit for Victorian Public Health Services. The project will also continue to host the Community of Practice website and forums and provide workshops and webinars. 

Telehealth Victoria Community of Practice webpage

Ballarat Health Service & Bendigo Health - Out of Hours Telehealth Urgent Care – Emergency Department Grampians and Loddon Mallee Regions Project 

Ballarat Health Service and Bendigo Health will each implement and embed an out of hours telehealth support model into two local referring urgent care centres. The health services will also partner to develop and refine an online resource of out of hour telehealth urgent care tools and templates. This work will build on other  health service’s telehealth urgent care programs and resources.

Completed Projects

Round one Victorian Telehealth Specialist Clinic Initiative Projects

Completed February 2018

Alfred Health - A co-ordinated approach to Telehealth in Alfred Health’s specialist clinics and state-wide services

Alfred Health worked in collaboration with partners at Mildura Base Hospital, Central Gippsland Health Service, Peninsula Health and Warrnambool Base Hospital to introduce Telehealth for patients accessing Burns, Infectious Disease, Lung Transplant, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology, Dialysis and HIV services.  

Alfred Health Telehealth Homepage

Austin Health State Wide Services Telehealth Program

Austin Health worked in collaboration with Bendigo Health and the Murray Primary Health Network to upscale Telehealth in two state-wide services, the Victorian Respiratory Support Service and the Victorian Spinal Cord Service.

Austin Health Homepage

Ballarat Health Services - The Integration of Telehealth to the Ballarat Health Services Persistent Pain Management Service

The Ballarat Health Service Persistent Pain Management Service Specialist Clinic established a telehealth service for their patients. The Service is the only funded multi-disciplinary persistent pain management service for the Grampians region, with some patients travelling as far as the South Australian border to attend the specialist clinic.
 

Barwon Health - Implementing Telehealth access to Specialist clinics on an organisational and regional scale

Barwon Health addressed the challenges of implementing Telehealth on an organisational and regional scale. The project tested and implemented solutions for barriers to Telehealth services, which will enable scaling up of Telehealth access to specialist clinics in the Barwon region.
 

Bendigo Health - Establishment of a Bendigo Health Telehealth Outpatients Service

Bendigo Health established a telehealth community of practice, linking Bendigo Health, Regional GPs and patients to deliver specialist clinics service to patients within their community. The Virtual Specialist Clinic service initially focused on Tele Paediatrics, Tele Respiratory Medicine, Tele Endocrinology and Tele Genetics.
 

Eastern Health - Telemedicine @ Eastern: Specialist Clinics

Eastern Health worked on developing a scalable Telehealth model for Gastroenterology Hepatitis C clinics; as well as, establishing a cooperative clinic model of Telehealth consultations for obstetric medicine/Gestational diabetes mellitus clinics.

Melbourne Health Telehealth divisional implementation strategy

Melbourne Health integrated Telehealth consultations in a business as usual model in Specialist Consultations. Specialties included Infectious Disease and Refugee Health, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Endocrinology, Intensive Care and Trauma Medicine and Mental Health Services. The project focused on building a telehealth enabled workforce, leveraging information systems and proactive consumer engagement throughout implementation.
 

Monash Health Telehealth in Children's Program

Monash Health worked in collaboration with Latrobe Regional Hospital, Bass Coast Health, Bairnsdale Regional Health and  Central Gippsland Health Service to increase access to telehealth consultations for paediatric specialists clinics including, but not limited to; cancer, orthopaedic, ear nose and throat, plastic surgery, and urology.
 

Northeast Health Wangaratta

Northeast Health Wangaratta formed a consortium with metropolitan tertiary health services to establish a Specialist Clinics Facilitation Agency as a single point of contact for patients, relatives, GPs, specialists and health services who wish to organise a specialist clinic appointment by telehealth.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre - Establishment of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) Telehealth Network

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre provides a specialist oncology outreach to regional areas of Victoria. The project encompassed a range of speciality areas. The initial focus is within the Loddon-Mallee region (Bendigo Health and Mildura, with further opportunities to Swan Hill, Kerang, Kyneton).
 

Portland District Health - An integrated approach to Chronic Pain Management in the Rural Community of Portland and District

Portland District Health implemented a sustainable, multidisciplinary chronic pain clinic and care coordination program, inclusive of the current telehealth services underpinned by a regional Health Pathway protocol.

The Royal Children’s Hospital - State-wide access to RCH paediatric sub-speciality services

This project encompassed a range of speciality specific sub-projects under the umbrella of an organisational wide approach to telehealth.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Telehealth Homepage

The Royal Women’s Hospital – Menopause after cancer service

The project focused on increasing the uptake of Menopausal Services after Cancer (MSAC) services for women in rural and regional Victoria and enhance the ability for the service to provide psychosexual counselling via telehealth consultation.

Rural Northwest Health - Flying Doctor Telehealth Specialist Service

The key purpose of the Flying Doctor Telehealth Specialist Service project was to improve access to telehealth for rural communities in North West Victoria.

Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital - Telehealth improving the patient experience in a tertiary speciality hospital

The purpose of the project was to establish telehealth capacity in specialist Ear, Nose and Throat services and eye services for three clinical streams: The Balance and Disorder Ataxia Service, Neuro-ophthalmology clinics and the Cochlear Implant service.

Victorian Telehealth Community of Practice - Developing a Victorian Telehealth Community of Practice

The community of practice program is for both clinical and non-clinical members of the health workforce who are involved in implementing, supporting, managing and evaluating telehealth access to their services. To join the community of practice, visit telehealth Victoria.  

2016 Better Care Victoria Projects

(More information about these projects can be found at innovation projects.)

Gippsland Southern Health Service - Implementing telehealth for urgent care medical consultations

An after-hours telehealth service within a regional emergency department was established. The service provides 24 hour access to service Urgent Care Centres located in South Gippsland.

Latrobe Regional Hospital - Expansion of a telemedicine model to the patient's home

An outpatient paediatric, diabetes and heart failure consultant service via telehealth was established for patients residing at home or at a GP clinic located greater than 15kms from the Latrobe Regional Hospital site.

Loddon Mallee Rural Health Alliance - Geri Connect

The Loddon Mallee region has access to telehealth consultation technology to support the provision of geriatric medicine across inpatient and residential aged care settings.

Mildura Base Hospital - Better care for rural patients in Intensive Care Units with chronic complex care needs through telemedicine

The project involved the use of telehealth to improve access to intensivists in tertiary and level 2 Intensive Care Units, to increase the capability of rural clinicians to care for patients with chronic complex conditions requiring critical care in Mildura and the surrounding regions. Telehealth will ensure patients with chronic complex conditions can stay close to their families and support networks, while receiving their care

Otway Health & Lorne Community Health - Remote Drug and Alcohol Recovery for the Southern Otways Region

Specialist alcohol and other drug support services in a rural community can be utilised via telehealth. The project focused on building regional capacity through education and formalised pathways of care.

Other Completed Projects 2013-2015

Dental Health Services Victoria - Tele-dentistry in rural and remote areas

Innovative, specialist advice and advanced dental care can be provided to patients in rural and remote regions of Victoria. Integrated dental care is provided to patients whose dental health is at risk because they are currently unable to, or find it difficult to access care. 

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital - Ophthalmic Outreach Telehealth Program

The project focused on the rollout of eyeConnect asynchronous telemedicine devices to rural and regional health services. It supports medical staff in remote hospitals where there is limited ophthalmology support and minimises the referral/transfer of ophthalmology patients and their carers to the Eye and Ear, where the patient could reasonably have been managed locally.

Hume After-Hours Urgent Care

The Hume After-Hours Urgent Care telehealth project links urgent care centres (UCC) across the Hume Region with the emergency department at Northeast Health Wangaratta via videoconferencing. Medical and nursing staff in smaller rural services are supported in assessing and delivering care to patients that present after hours. Staff training and clinical governance protocols have been a key part in rolling out this initiative. In 2014 Northeast Health received additional funding to extend the model to additional sites across the region.

View the Regional ED Telehealth Guide for Doctors and Nurses and the Regional ED Telehealth Guide for Nurses and Clerical Staff at Northeast Health Wangaratta's YouTube channel

Advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapy review

Following the successful implementation of the Advanced Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy role in the Post Arthroplasty Review Clinic, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne piloted and ultimately imbedded telehealth as an alternate method of consultation alongside the existing in-person method of consultation. The model used in this project was direct consultation between an advanced practice physiotherapist based at St Vincent’s hospital and patients located in their homes or place of employment. Outcomes of the pilot included a reduction of cost per occasion of service, strong patient and health professional satisfaction and development of operational guidelines for clinicians using telehealth.
 
For more information, see the project (video and toolkit documents)

Expanding Paediatric

The Expanding Paediatric telehealth project improved access to subspecialist paediatric services for young people across Victoria by enabling regional paediatricians to conduct medical consultations with specialists at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Monash Children’s. Key successes of the project were that patients no longer have to travel for services and the capacity of clinicians in regional services is expanding. Five regional health services participated in the project and more than 250 consultations were booked.  A suite of resources were developed as part of this project:

Telehealth Video Solution Investment Decision Support Tool

The State wide Expanding Paediatric Telehealth Project commissioned the Australian Centre for Health Innovation to develop a video solution evaluation tool which could be used by health services to aid video solution investment decisions in light of video technology developments.

The evaluation tool uses a proven weighted score software assessment methodology to allow for the objective evaluation of the available options. The evaluation identifies the key requirements for sustainability and affordability and generates a report which can be used to support a business case for investment. Ultimately, the tool guides health services (of varying sizes) in the selection of cloud based video solutions that are interoperable (i.e. capable of working across or between different solutions that might be in use). 

The telehealth video solution investment decision support tool guides health services in the selection of video solutions that will best meet their needs.

Telehealth learning module

An online learning module was developed by the Expanding Paediatric Telehealth Project to provide an overview of the key steps in setting up a telehealth consultation. The module has been made available to health services, GPs via Medicare Locals and ACRRM.
 
The telehealth learning module provides an overview of the key steps in setting up a telehealth consultation.

Getting ready for telehealth

The Expanding Paediatric Telehealth Project produced a short video to introduce the practical aspects of setting up and holding a telehealth consultation.  This was developed for staff at the Royal Children’s Hospital but will be useful to all those involved in setting up telehealth services.

See Getting Ready for Telehealth.

Aboriginal Telehealth

The Aboriginal Telehealth project was rolled out by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) to telehealth-enable its members (the ACCHOs) to offer patients access to specialists via videoconferencing. The project was initially piloted in Gippsland, with other regions to follow. A needs analysis is identifying the specific services that will be the focus for each region. It is anticipated that the initiative will improve access to specialist services for the Aboriginal community, which often experiences lack of transport options and poorer health outcomes. 

Mental Health Review Tribunal videoconferencing solution

The Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) videoconferencing solution has been rolled out to enable the MHRT to conduct patient hearings via videoconferencing. Fifty-three mental health videoconferencing endpoints have been installed across Victoria. This will support the MHRT in meeting its obligations under the Mental Health Act 2014 and Victorian human rights legislation.

Stroke tele-rehabilitation subacute telehealth projects

Two stroke tele-rehabilitation subacute telehealth projects have been initiated to improve the provision of stroke rehabilitation in regional areas. Alfred Health, in partnership with Northeast Health Wangaratta, focused on improving the capacity and capability of rehabilitation interdisciplinary teams to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment for stroke patients, consistent with National Stroke Foundation clinical guidelines. Barwon Health, in partnership with Barwon-South Western Region piloted a hub-and-spoke model to build capacity and provide local access to specialist support or interdisciplinary care planning including therapy advice.

University Hospital Geelong Intensive Care Telehealth Project

The University Hospital Geelong Intensive Care Telehealth project trialled the provision of specialist care for critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICU) and urgent care centres across the Barwon-South Western region through telehealth/videoconferencing facilities. The initiative enabled the University Hospital Geelong ICU to receive clinical advice from the specialist ICUs at the Alfred Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital in treating patients, and provide advice downstream to other ICUs in Warrnambool and Hamilton. The project improved care for critically ill patients, improved the patient experience, and supported clinicians working remotely. The project won the Secretary’s Award for improving patient outcomes and patient experience at the 2014 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards.

For more information, see the project toolkit and the video

Refugee Health Clinical Hub Enhancement

The Refugee Health Clinical Hub Enhancement project developed an electronic records system to facilitate telehealth consultations for general practitioners (GPs) caring for refugees in rural Victoria. The system provides an integrated source of refugee data from GP, specialist and other providers that can be accessed by patients and providers to enhance the provision of healthcare. It also allows the tracking of trends in refugee healthcare across the state.  The project won the 2014 Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Service Delivery Award that recognises innovation or improvement in the provision of government services to citizens.
 
Watch a video on the Refugee Health Clinical Hub

Health Independence Program Residential Inreach telehealth initiative

The Health Independence Program Residential Inreach telehealth initiative funded 11 health services to support the integration of telehealth into their Health Independence Program (HIP) model of care and divert people from hospital by providing support in the community and at home. Projects funded under the initiative focused on providing short-term care coordination, outreach and specialist assessment of residents of aged care services to avoid residents unnecessarily presenting to emergency departments. 

Barwon Health Personal Health Care

The Barwon Health Personalised Health Care project was a pilot project aimed at decreasing the emergency presentation rate and hospitalisation of clients with a chronic illness through the use of telehealth and home monitoring. Clients participating in the project were monitored daily in their home via telehealth. Each client enrolled in the intervention cohort has an individualised care plan and these form the basis of the daily remote monitoring system for each client. The pilot was due to be completed in March 2015, and incorporated an economic evaluation.  

Victorian Stroke Telemedicine program

The Victorian Stroke Telemedicine program links doctors at rural Victorian hospitals to a network of Melbourne-based stroke neurologists, who provide treatment advice about patients with stroke symptoms. Neurologists have real-time access to vital patient data and brain imaging to facilitate remote consultations. Funded through the Australian Health and Hospitals Fund (Commonwealth), the project is expanding to include a further 12 hospitals across Victoria and will enable statewide coverage of the tele-neurology service. It is funded until 2018.
 
For more information see Victorian Stoke Telemedicine.
 
Contact the Telehealth Unit for further information about these projects.