How new technology takes load off Ipswich Hospital
TECHNOLOGY introduced to Ipswich three years ago is being credited with reducing unnecessary trips to hospital and freeing up vital resources.
Since 2016, patients with chronic health issues have been encouraged to make use of the West Moreton Health MeCare program, which allows staff to remotely monitor patients.
Health Minister Steven Miles said the adoption of MeCare could be credited for a 35 per cent reduction in preventable hospital visits for patients within the program.
"In-home technology is becoming an increasingly important way to manage the growing demands on our public hospital system and deliver care closer to home,” Mr Miles said during a visit to Ipswich Hospital yesterday.
MeCare, which stands for 'mobile enabled' care, uses videoconferencing and home monitoring to help chronically-ill patients to better manage their own health.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said the program was making a significant improvement in the care of the community.
"Patients are able to check things like weight, blood pressure, blood sugar level and breathing capacity each day,” Ms Howard said.
MeCare nursing unit manager Shannon Wallis said the MeCare clinical team could check in with program participants via video conference and coach them through any health changes or challenges.
"The 200 patients using the MeCare service are better caring for themselves and effectively managing their health challenges at home, with less frequent or shorter hospital visits,” she said.
Parkinson's disease sufferer John Mahoney is living testimony to the success of the program.
He said it was easy to work with and meant he didn't have to make repeated trips to hospital.
"I was referred to the MeCare program last July while I was a patient at Ipswich Hospital, and I haven't been back there since,” Mr Mahoney said.
"Every morning I submit my blood pressure, oxygen saturation, weight and temperature - it's easy to do and has been right from the start.
"I'm being treated for Parkinson's disease and the MeCare team has helped me manage my symptoms and put me in touch with services like rehabilitation, a dietitian, a social worker and a pharmacist.
"I'm getting good advice all the time and it just takes the guess work out of everything for me and saves me a lot of run-around.”
Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said keeping people out of hospital benefited everyone.
"Not only does it keep people with chronic disease out of hospital where they are more comfortable and closer to home, it also takes pressure off the hospital,” Mr Madden said.
Managing director at Philips Australia and New Zealand Matt Moran said Philips was proud to partner with West Moreton Health to deliver new models of care.