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Based on a model of care pioneered and developed by his colleagues in Glasgow, Logan Hospital Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Nick Shortt is already making a huge difference to patients utilising his Virtual Fracture Clinic.
Dr Shortt said with a significant number of patients attending the fracture clinic placing a huge demand on medical and nursing staff, he had successfully implemented a virtual clinic at Logan which had already seen a reduction of around 300 patients every month presenting at the hospital for an appointment.
“Clinic waits were often very long for very short consultations,” Dr Shortt said.
“The Virtual Fracture Clinic, which involves a subset of orthopaedic injuries which are relatively minor, safely and effectively filters patients who are not required to come and wait for long periods of time in hospital for very brief consultations.
“We have been able to reduce the number of patients coming to fracture clinic and directly discharge patients after a single attendance at either their GP or the Emergency Department.
“We communicate directly with the patients’ GP in writing so everyone is fully informed of the situation and so far we have seen a high degree of satisfaction with the treatment patients receive through the Virtual Fracture Clinic.”
Dr Shortt said consultation with the Emergency Department and Allied Health services such as hand therapy and physiotherapy, as well as the establishment of clear pathways and guidelines for medical and nursing staff in the ED, had ensured staff were able to direct patients appropriately to either the on-site fracture clinic or the Virtual Fracture Clinic to be processed very quickly and efficiently by a single doctor.
“We’ve also been granted funding from Queensland Health to establish the model in other facilities like Redland Hospital and we are looking to work on a similar model at Beaudesert Hospital,” he said.
“This patient centred approach that is convenient and safe for the patient is one of the flagship projects for the Future Hospital Program and one with the potential to be implemented across other units with minor modifications.”