South Australia has launched a 24/7 remote health monitoring service for rural and regional South Australians. This free service, funded by Country SA Primary Health Network, is available to anyone over 15 years old who has a GP referral.
The service provides patients with a monitoring kit that measures vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen levels, pulse rate, and temperature. Patients also receive a digital tablet that they can use to upload their health data via a secure website. In addition, a specialist nurse will be available to review the data and speak to the patient via live video link at any time of the day, seven days a week.
This service is especially important for those at risk of hospitalization, including people with heart and respiratory diseases, infections, aged care residents, and COVID-19 patients with chronic comorbidities. It is expected to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions while providing high-quality urgent care from the comfort of patients’ homes.
Australia is home to around seven million people who live in rural and remote areas. Compared to those in major cities, these individuals have less access to care and, consequently, poorer health outcomes. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data shows that hospitalization rates are almost twice as high in remote areas than in major cities, and there are fewer visits to GPs.
SA Health has been working to reduce hospital admissions by leveraging telehealth. Last year, it partnered with SA Ambulance Service to launch a virtual care service for residential aged care facilities. During its trial, the service was said to have reduced ED admissions and emergency calls by at least 70% of patients.
This 24/7 remote health monitoring service is another important step in providing improved care for rural and regional South Australians. It will make a huge difference in the lives of those who are at risk of hospitalization, aged care residents, and COVID-19 patients with chronic comorbidities.