Ms Amber Jones1, Mr Perry Judd1, Dr Hannah Carter2, Dr Clare Burns1, Dr Angela Chang1, Ms Andrea Mc Kittrick1, Ms Anita Plaza1, Dr Michelle Cottrell1
1Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Background: RBWH provides a state-wide specialist burns service to over 1,000 individuals every year, many of whom reside outside the Metro North catchment. Historically, patients were required to travel to Brisbane to receive ongoing outpatient Allied Health care post burn injury. Telehealth presented an opportunity to mitigate many of the challenges in accessing these services.
Aim: To evaluate the implementation of the RBWH Allied Health TeleBurns Service as an alternative method of service delivery to prevent patients having to travel to access equivalent in-person services.
Methods: A multi-methods approach, embedded within the RE-AIM framework, was undertaken for all patients referred to the service between April 2019 – December 2020.
Results: Of the 318 referrals to the service, 623 consults were attended by 201 unique patients. Most consults (72%) were directly into the patients’ home, while 40 Queensland Health facilities (across all 15 health service districts) were involved in supporting inter-facility appointments. Delivery of the service cost an average of $437 per appointment. An estimated patient travel distance of 522,197km was avoided, equating to a saving of $147,097 in subsidised travel expenses and $74,387 in estimated out of pocket expenses. This translated to an average of $1,101 in travel expenses avoided per patient. There were no adverse events or clinical safety incidents. Only 6.8% of all consults had major technical issues. High levels of satisfaction were reported by both patients and clinicians.
Conclusion: The RBWH Allied Health TeleBurns Service was successfully implemented as an alternative pathway for individuals with burn injuries to be able to access specialised care closer to home. Results may support the implementation of telehealth burns services in other jurisdictions.
Amber Jones is the Occupational Therapy Trauma Team Leader at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. She has worked within the Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burn Centre since 2005. In 2019 Amber completed a Graduate Certificate in Health Science (Health Services Innovation). She is currently enrolled in a research higher degree to develop and evaluate a telehealth model for the delivery of occupational therapy burn care.