09 February 2018
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Media releases

In an Australian first, the Royal Melbourne Hospital is pioneering an innovative model of care that lets more people with fractures have their local GPs manage their injury, instead of being seen by a hospital orthopaedic specialist. 

Nearly 45 per cent of Emergency Department (ED) patients who present with a fracture or a musculoskeletal injury don’t require a specialist review at the hospital, thanks to a new service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Following attendance at the hospital’s Emergency Department, patients who require orthopaedic review are now booked into a Virtual Fracture Clinic (VFC).

Royal Melbourne Hospital orthopaedic consultants review the ED clinical assessment and digital imaging of ED referrals, identifying patients who do not require a personal consultation. The consultant provides a diagnosis and management plan which is then communicated to the patient via a telephone call from an Advanced Practice Physiotherapist.

In the first six months of operation, the VFC screened nearly 400 ED referrals. To date, nearly one third of ED referrals have been discharged directly from the VFC and have not required an outpatient clinic appointment.

“Preliminary results indicate this is a safe and effective alternative model of care for many acute musculoskeletal injuries while reducing demand on orthopaedic outpatient clinics,” said Project Lead and Physiotherapy Manager, Bernarda Cavka.

“The experience for patients’ GPs is also proving positive. They tell us that the resources we are providing them via a special website are providing a valuable resource and are helping them to manage their patients locally.

“And most pleasingly, nine patients out of ten say they would recommend the Virtual Fracture Clinic to family and friends,” added Bernarda.

“It’s a great result all round.”

Patient feedback: 

"This was the best experience I’ve ever had in a hospital. From the first consultation at emergency, the phone calls to see how I was getting on, the offer of home help to see me through the first few weeks. I only have positive things to say about the whole experience."

"The Virtual Fracture Clinic has been preferable to any other option for this treatment; the staff over the phone have answered my questions thoroughly and I have not spent lengthy periods of time waiting for appointments."

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