What is virtual care?
Virtual care is an integral part of a sustainable health system that delivers outcomes that matter to patients. Where clinically appropriate, virtual care is a safe, effective and a valuable way to support patient and family-centred care. It often complements face-to-face care.
We encourage NSW cancer services to consider the use of virtual care as a part of normal practice. It provides many benefits for people with cancer, carers and health care professionals across NSW cancer services, including helping people to receive more appropriate care in a timely fashion.
Promoting the use of virtual care in cancer services will increase the choices available to clinicians and patients. This will provide a variety of options to provide and access care.
In NSW, virtual care can be delivered in different ways, including:
Patients should speak to their clinicians to determine if virtual care is an option for them.
When considering virtual care NSW health clinicians should consult with their local Virtual Care / Telehealth Manager who can provide support
Virtual care in cancer
This case study explores the BreastScreen NSW virtual assessment clinic in greater southern NSW. This virtual model of care provides women living in regional and rural areas with access to remote multidisciplinary and specialist care.
Western NSW LHD provides virtual care to increase local access to services for people in small communities. In order for people to receive cancer treatment closer to home the district adapted the Queensland remote chemotherapy supervision model for the community of Coonabarabran.
This was to improve cancer outcomes for people living in all communities using telehealth to supervise the administration of cancer treatments. Providing a local service offers patients the alternative to a four-hour round trip to the Dubbo Oncology Unit for treatment.
Dr Florian Honeyball is based at Dubbo Hospital and is the chair of the Western NSW LHD cancer services clinical stream. RVAC demonstrates how specialist medical services can be effectively provided using virtual care. Between October 2017 and August 2019, the Coonabarabran RVAC service treated 26 patients, saving 820 hours in travel time and approximately 68,000 kms of travel.
This document outlines the cancer care telehealth model at Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Cancer Institutes, which connects a specialist with the patient and their primary care team, allowing cancer care follow-up to be held with patients in their community.
Virtual Care in NSW Local Health Districts
- Western NSW
- Hunter New England
- Southern NSW
- Northern NSW
- Illawarra Shoalhaven
- South Eastern Sydney
- rpavirtual - Sydney
- Local health district and specialty health network
- Ministry of Health
- eHealth NSW
- Agency for Clinical Innovation
The Virtual Care Central (VCC)
The VCC is the key reference point for virtual care information for NSW Health staff, providing a central hub for information, resources and news.
It can help you to identify and connect with others to assist and support the integration of virtual care into your clinical practice.