Virtual Emergency Department Triage at Northern Hospital

Project Participants

Status: Ongoing


The study we are proposing aims to evaluate the virtual ED model implemented at Northern Health (NH) Emergency Department (and subsequently expanded state-wide across Victoria), to determine what key outcomes from the virtual ED model can be measured to assess its impact on the whole health system. The project will evaluate and provide evidence of the effectiveness of the virtual ED model in:

  • diagnosing and directing noncritical cases to the next step in a person’s care journey
  • reducing the time spent waiting to be triaged
  • reducing the pressure on triage staff
  • reducing workload by limiting redundant assessments or treatment interventions

Project Objective

This project will evaluate the virtual triage model at the Northern Health ED and determine what key outcomes can be measured to assess the impact of the whole health system.

Objectives for Part One:

  • Descriptive data on the activity processed by the VVED during the study period.
  • Indicative analyses on the impact the VVED has had on:
    • Patient outcomes
    • Demand and performance of Northern Hospital’s emergency department
    • System response to demand (i.e., collaborative working between the VVED and external emergency departments, urgent care centres and primary care).

Part Two will involve:

  • The development of an assessment framework for virtual care models (including developing agreed metrics that measure Research, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance of the VVED)
  • Demonstrating how the framework can be used to measure the value of virtual care through a detailed study of the VVED model
  • Highlight opportunities for healthcare stakeholders to realise the full potential of digitally enabled care i.e., use the framework to develop an enhanced model that can:
    • Virtually manage and discharge appropriate patients, preventing ED attendances.
    • Direct patients needing urgent emergency care to the ED and, where possible, streamline their ED journey, e.g., direct admission to the Short Stay Unit.
    • Redirect patients needing less urgent specialist care to outpatient specialist clinics, bypassing the ED.
    • Redistribute patient time of arrival by scheduling their ED care to less busy times.

Integrity, Excellence,
Teamwork and Authenticity