Queensland Health manages hundreds of hospitals and many more healthcare facilities. These include public dental offices, nursing homes, and primary care clinics. General Practitioners (GPs) and broader community care organizations sit independently, but Queensland Health ensures that working with them stays top of mind, particularly because these groups are often involved in patients’ specialist care.
The need for telehealth consultations in patients' homes
Until 2016, 100% of telehealth within Queensland Health was happening from hospital to hospital, meaning patients could meet with their clinicians for a virtual consultation by visiting their nearest hospital and using the video infrastructure within specific healthcare facilities.
The Telehealth team, dedicated to directing and delivering statewide telehealth and help desk services, wanted to set up a telehealth platform for patients to connect with their physicians or consultants from their homes.
Since 2016, Queensland Health has worked with Pexip to devise and create the Queensland Telehealth Virtual Clinic, a custom-developed platform running over Pexip video communications.
The Queensland Health Telehealth Virtual Clinic is designed to mirror the real-life scenario of visiting a doctor’s surgery in a virtual environment. When appointment time arrives, patients click on a link sent to them by their consultant, and they join a virtual video waiting room from their personal devices. There is a dashboard for staff to register and monitor patients, and when required, reception transfers them to their virtual consult room or a secondary waiting room.
Queensland Health/Pexip Solution
*Pexip was chosen by Queensland Health through a competitive procurement process as one of their telehealth technology providers because they demonstrated experience in the following areas:
Queensland Health already had an established video infrastructure and unified communications platform with Cisco Telepresence and other vendor hardware and software. The interoperability Pexip offers between video meeting solutions such as Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Poly, and other standards-based video conferencing meant Queensland Health couldn’t overhaul its existing infrastructure but could use Pexip to scale, build and improve its existing investments.
According to a Telehealth Representative at Queensland Health, Pexip’s interoperability was of considerable benefit to Queensland Health.
“Previously, we had to add ad-hoc consultations manually, and it was difficult to manage high volumes of clinical sessions because we didn’t have the telehealth infrastructure to support this,” Queensland Health Telehealth says. “With Pexip, not only could we maximize the potential of our existing solutions, but we could also avoid potential technology barriers between Queensland Health and people’s homes. We can now scale to coordinate and manage hundreds of patients via video conference outside our network.”
2. Ease of Use
The ease with which patients and their medical practitioners can join a video call, regardless of device, operating system, mobile environment, or tech savviness, was also a key feature of the Pexip offering
“The user experience is seamless,” says Queensland Health Telehealth. “We don’t have to send the patient a list of sign-in requirements. Even the least technology-literate person can use the system and connect with their healthcare provider. We send patients a quick email or text message with a hyperlink for them to click on. Then they can call by video to where they need to be. We don’t have the scenario of managing multiple requirements for PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, etc.”
There’s a testing system for patients who want to ensure the video call will work before their appointment. The service is quick and practical, with a link sent before the patient’s appointment so they can try the connection and check the video quality. The service also allows staff to call a third party and invite them into the virtual clinic, for instance, the patient’s GP.
Every virtual clinic has a custom background so patients know they are in the right place as they wait. Healthcare facilities can also upload a custom audio file with helpful information about waiting times or news from the clinic. These messages can be quickly recorded and administered so that information stays up-to-date.
“We’ve been able to personalize the experience for health care facilities, and they’ve been able to tailor their offerings according to patient requirements,” Queensland Health Telehealth adds.
4. Security and privacy
Naturally, security and privacy are paramount for Queensland Health. All new technologies undergo rigorous cybersecurity assessment to ensure hospital services meet high levels of security, including transparency around data and privacy. Pexip offers security-first, enterprise-grade video conferencing solutions using industry-standard encryption and security protocols to maintain privacy and security, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance.
"Pexip has supported our transformation, moving telehealth from the hospital to the home.”
Making an impact
The Queensland Health Virtual Clinic started trials in 2019 within several hospitals. During 2020, Queensland Health is scaling up the platform, and it is running as a full service, a situation recently accelerated by COVID-19.
“Telehealth is not always appropriate, but there are many situations where it is, saving time and cost for doctors, patients, and Queensland Health. Over the last few decades, perhaps 1-2% of outpatient consultations in Queensland have been via telehealth. While COVID-19 has accelerated that demand and forced the department to operate differently, we hope people will continue using the service long-term. Pexip has supported our transformation, moving telehealth from the hospital to the home.”
Learn more about Pexip’s telehealth solutions in Australia and worldwide and how they help to connect patients and providers seamlessly.
Queensland Health Telehealth Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Digital transformation
- Video technology platform