In-Home Virtual Care Benefiting Bendigo Locals and Hospital

In-Home Virtual Care Benefiting Bendigo Locals and Hospital Main Image

28 February 2024

The Allan Labor Government is delivering in-home virtual care options for those living in Bendigo and across the region, freeing up beds in hospital and saving patients hours of travel while unwell.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards met with a local patient, Natalie, who has benefitted from the Remote Patient Monitoring initiative (RPM) – a platform allowing patients to monitor and share health readings with their clinician from home, including blood oxygen and glucose levels, blood pressure, weight and temperature.

Natalie commenced RPM when it launched in November 2023, using the app for ongoing management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and to help her prepare to meet the criteria for a lung transplant.

As part of the initiative, she was given a pulse oximeter, thermometer, scales, and a BP machine to monitor her vital signs at home.

A registered nurse monitors Natalie’s vital signs remotely, coordinates her care and provides education and support when readings are outside of range.

These tools and the information that they provide, combined with the ongoing support, has assisted Natalie in understanding changes in her vital signs, and how to intervene early to prevent deterioration in her condition.

Natalie’s GP can also see this information via the Patient Portal and she is also able to take it to specialist appointments.

“This is about giving Bendigo locals more choice in how they receive care and for people in regional Victoria, it means saving on travel time and less time spent in hospital – something that can significantly improve their wellbeing," Ms Edwards said.

“Managing a chronic health condition usually means regular trips to the doctor, but with remote patient monitoring we’re able to help patients like Natalie stay on top of their care without the stress of leaving home while unwell.”

Uploading data and communicating through the app means patients can be spared regular trips to hospital and gives them an easily accessible record of their results, which they can share with their GP or any other medical professional they are receiving treatment from.

This is especially beneficial for people living in regional and remote areas, with health services across the Loddon Mallee region participating in this new initiative, including Bendigo Health, Swan Hill District Health, Echuca Regional Health, Inglewood and District Health, Heathcote Health, Rochester and Elmore District Health Service.

Since going live late last year, the initiative has helped more than 130 patients manage their chronic condition or monitor their diabetes during pregnancy.

RPM is set to expand later this year to include Hospital in the Home and at-home Geriatric Evaluation and Management admitted services, giving further Victorians more choice when it comes to their healthcare.

These remote patient monitoring services are part of the Better at Home program that is helping innovate how home-based care is delivered – whether it be virtually or closer to home, instead of a hospital bed.

Since 2020 the Labor Government has invested $810 million to support Better at Home initiatives across Victoria, helping more than 24,000 people each year receive hospital care in the comfort of their own homes.