Virtual immunology clinic delivering on care

A group of two men and five women in a courtyard setting
Virtual Immunology Clinic team led by Dr Dominic Mallon (centre)
September 10, 2020

As the first of its kind in WA, a new virtual clinic, developed by the Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) Immunology team has improved access to care for patients.

Led by FSH Immunology Head of Service Dr Dominic Mallon and supported by the South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) Innovation Team, the service gives patients greater control over the coordination of their care whilst combining specialist assessment, joint care planning and GP upskilling.

“The virtual clinic has resulted in a sustained increase in activity, significant decline in overall Did Not Attend (DNA) appointments and, for the first time, sustainably closing more referrals than we are receiving,” Dr Mallon said.

“Through telehealth consultations, immunology specialists can now discuss test results and provide appropriate management advice to patients.”

“Approximately 80 per cent of patients who used the virtual clinic were happy to be assessed by telehealth or phone as their preferred mode of consultation.”

Some key stats in the first 6 months since the clinic started in January include:

  • over 500 patients seen, with more than half of these paediatric patients
  • 31 per cemt of patients discharged after first appointment
  • waitlist reduction from 4 years to 2.5 years for paediatric patients.

The team has built positive relationships with consumers and GPs, leveraging teleconferencing technology and automating administrative processes to achieve a streamlined service.

Additionally, there were unexpected learnings which highlighted the clinical value of assessing patients in their home setting.

Collaboration between teams across SMHS has been critical to the success of the project, including Immunology, Innovation, HIMS and Clinical Service Planning with support also coming from Serco and the WA Primary Health Alliance.

SMHS Chief Executive Paul Forden said innovative ideas about improving patient care were always encouraged.

“It’s projects like the Virtual Immunology Clinic that highlight the groundbreaking work of SMHS staff to steer us in the right direction and transform the way we deliver care to our patients,” he said.

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