Project Lead

Professor Wendy Chapman

Virtual care can be defined as any interaction between patients and/or members of their circle of care, occurring remotely, using any forms of communication or information technologies, with the aim of facilitating or maximising the quality and effectiveness of patient care. This project aims to identify and assess the suitability of virtual care initiatives used to enhance care for older adults for scaling-up across Victoria. Virtual care initiatives in three settings will be examined,

  1. Cared for in the community and require primary-specialist coordination,
  2. Cared for in residential aged care with “in-reach” from hospitals and need for primary care integration, and
  3. Cared for with “Hospital in the Home” type programs and undergoing a transition to General Practitioner-based care.

These settings represent cohorts of older patients with complex comorbidities who are at high risk of readmission to hospital. The team will use a co-production process with key stakeholders to scope the current landscape of virtual care activities, review available evidence regarding these initiatives, and create new evidence examining the effectiveness, feasibility, acceptability, economic efficiency and alignment of these initiatives to current policy settings and programs.  A scale up plan for virtual care initiatives with the potential to improve care integration and outcomes for older adults within the three selected service delivery settings will be delivered to government.

To support this statewide initiative, MACH has provided funding to Learning Health System (LHS) pilot projects, led by Dr Daniel Capurro, Professor Wendy Chapman, Professor Harriet Hiscock, and Associate Professor Victoria Palmer. The aim is to understand where the greatest needs for healthcare reform may be, through two data-driven projects to gather evidence about how healthcare provision has changed during the pandemic; and two projects to explore patient perceptions of telehealth and virtual care.