October 7, 2021

Happy Birthday Virtual ED!

Our Virtual Emergency Department (ED) Triage service, an Australian-first, is celebrating its 1st birthday.

At its launch a year ago, Dr Loren Sher, Emergency Physician, explained this service will enable patients to talk to our ED nurses and doctors from their home or work.

“If a patient has a non-life-threatening emergency, they can connect virtually with our ED staff, who will be able to provide medical advice,” she explained at the launch.

Patients living in Northern Health’s catchment area, as well as local General Practitioners (GPs), benefit from this service. The service has now expanded its working hours and is now available every day, including weekends, from 8 am to 11.30 pm and 24/7 for COVID patients.

Since its launch, Virtual ED has seen over 5,707 patients, with 1,300 seen just last month. The service additionally offers interpreting services for patients who are more comfortable speaking to our medical staff in their own language.

The community has been effusive in their praise.

“Emergency triage is an excellent service, seen quickly by extremely professional and lovely staff.” 

“Just wanted to say how wonderful and easy the virtual ED program is, staff who assisted were fantastic and reassuring, thank you for the service, nice not to leave the house and to know we were in safe virtual hands. Thank you.”

The staff involved, clearly make the difference, as the following  comments prove. 

“We used the virtual ED triage. Thank you so much for providing this service, it is absolutely the best. Thank you Dr. May Chang and Nurse Ellen, it saved heaps of time and we can stay home instead of going to the crowded ED waiting room.”

“Patient’s mother would like to compliment the virtual triage and the nursing staff especially John who was phenomenal, a most amazing and friendly nurse, so supportive and always smiling.” 

“I want to commend two staff members I spoke to through virtual triage today, was even more surprised on arrival to see the two same staff members. Christie and the doctor, were both fantastic and had so much patience with my son. I commend you.”

Says Loren, “What started off as a small idea has resulted in a massive hospital-wide collaboration, which is now showing its worth in this pandemic. We are now offering care to both patients with and without COVID.”

Today also marks the launch of a collaboration between our Virtual ED and Ambulance Victoria, to enable paramedics to call our Virtual ED from the patient’s home.

Says Loren, “Our service is rapidly growing and we are excited and happy to be part of this community. Happy Birthday Virtual ED!”