Virtual clinic redesigns uncomplicated fracture care

Two men review an x-ray image on a computer screen
Advanced Scope Physiotherapist Piers Trueter and Orthopaedic Registrar Dr Ben Wall
August 26, 2020

A new virtual clinic is enabling patients with simple fractures to be treated at home with access to a rehabilitation program and telephone support from specialist consultants and physiotherapists.

A first in Western Australia, the Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC) is redesigning the uncomplicated fracture care pathway, enabling patients referred from Fiona Stanley Hospital emergency department (ED) to be treated through a telehealth model of care.

Piers Truter, advanced scope physiotherapist and initiator of the idea, said the goal of the innovative virtual model of care was to provide patients with the care they need in the most convenient way possible.

“In the three months since the clinic opened, 250 patients have been managed entirely by telehealth with no complications and no returns to the ED,” Piers said.

“The majority of patients are discharged following their first telephone appointment and provided with self-management advice.”

The VFC idea has developed into an effective collaboration between multiple departments driving excellence in patient centred care and enables specialists to focus on treating more complex fractures.

ED referrals are triaged by a senior orthopaedic specialist and patients with simple fractures and injuries that can be treated and managed conservatively are referred to the VFC.

Final evaluation of the trial will measure patient recovery outcomes and feedback and will inform development of a more robust and streamlined model of care.

This fresh approach to fracture care in WA was supported to fruition by the SMHS innovation team.

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