August 17, 2021

Virtual walk arounds

Northern Health is constantly adapting to the challenges of working in a COVID-19 environment and expanding our virtual approach to the way we provide care. We have been conducting virtual Executive Patient Safety walk arounds for some time and recently have been conducting virtual accreditation assessment practices in readiness for continuing our accreditation assessment which commenced in May.

Laura Hughes, Project Manager, explained these sessions have been set up by the HRO and Accreditation teams to prepare our wards and departments for both on site and virtual assessments and ensure that the technology supports a successful assessment for our remote assessors. These sessions include a mix of senior staff from Nursing, Medical and Allied Health and patient interviews.

“We ran some trials this month across Northern Hospital for a virtual ward round. Dr Gautam Vaddadi, Consultant of the Heart Failure team conducted his ward rounds from home. The ward round included seeing patients on Ward 5, as well as patents in ICU and on Ward 21. The consultant was able to interact with the medical team and talk directly to the patient. Dr Vaddadi was also able to collaborate directly with the ICU team to develop plans for a patient with complex needs,” Laura explained.

“The feedback from the patients was really positive, with many happy to see Dr Vaddadi’s face and talk to him, while also receiving the face to face care from the onsite team. It gives patients comfort to have the expertise and senior decision making of a consultant,” she added.

Laura and the Project Management team are excited for the opportunities the virtual walk arounds bring and the scope of their implementation across the health service.

“There is so much scope to expand this capability across Northern. The HRO team is working with the Quality and Accreditation team on implementing models for Accreditation and Executive Patient Safety Walk Arounds, plus future models for virtual ward rounds, or as the Heart Failure team affectionately called it, ‘Doctor on a stick’, she said.

Richard Ram, Ward 5 Nurse Unit Manager, trialled the virtual walk around before Accreditation.

“This is the first time I have prepared for an Accreditation using virtual technology. It helps us prepare for the day and gives our staff a great opportunity to show and tell about their ward,” he said.

For Coleen Scully, Acting Director of Operations for Emergency Services, this was also a completely new experience.

“With the pandemic, we actually had to learn new ways of doing things, so I actually think this is an evolution of that. We are utilising the technology we have in order to be able to participate in a really important process, such as accreditation. This is very similar in content, but just different in format,” she explained.

“This is a good opportunity for staff to showcase the really good work they are doing. You can see in the way Richard is presenting his area that he is really proud of his staff and care they provide to patients,” Coleen said.

Coleen emphasised that conducting virtual walk arounds just shows how resilient Northern Health’s staff is and how quickly we adapt to change, which has already been proven in the way they have responded during the whole pandemic.

Featured image: Richard, accompanied by Laura and Dr Naveen Sharma, showing the Information board and answering questions from Maree Glynn and Jason Cirone virtually, ahead of Accreditation.