WA unveils virtual command centre for country clinicians

The Western Australian Government has announced the launch of a new 24/7 virtual clinical Command Centre to support healthcare clinicians in the state’s regions.

The Western Australian Country Health Service (WACHS) Command Centre will provide emergency and specialty services to support front-line clinicians in regional WA, giving remote doctors and nurses 24/7 access to clinical specialists.

The Command Centre will build on WACHS’ existing Emergency Telehealth Service (ETS), operating since 2012, amalgamating new and existing services into a single virtual clinical hub, and providing a suite of videoconferencing and real-time data displays to assist local clinicians in practice.

Among a number of innovations being introduced at the Command Centre include an Inpatient Telehealth Service, which offers virtual ward rounds to patients admitted to country hospitals with limited GP resources on-hand, avoiding the need to transfer patients to other hospitals.

Other Command Centre services currently under development include co-ordination of patient transport requests, availability of specialist advice such as obstetrics and paediatrics, and further tech-based solutions to support patient assessment and ongoing clinical monitoring, expected to be rolled out in 2020.

“The development and co-ordination of these services under the Command Centre is a WA Country Health Service digital innovation priority, resourced through the McGowan Government's Country Health Innovation funding,” a statement from the WA Government said.