29 October 2020
As COVID case numbers drop following the second wave of infections, Austin Health continues to play a key role in care of COVID patients with the recent implementation of the North East COVID Positive Care Pathway - collaboration with community health and primary care partners.
Interim Chief Operating Officer, John Ferraro, said the COVID Positive Pathway coordinates the care of COVID patients between Austin Health and its community and primary care partners.
“The program is a collaboration between Austin Health, community healthcare providers such as local community health centres and Primary Health Networks in our catchment, and local GPs,” John said.
“The Program is a great example of ensuring that our community receives integrated care and the importance of collaboration of service providers in our area.”
“Austin Health is the clinical assessment lead for the North East COVID Positive Care Pathway which stretches from Thornbury through to Templestowe and out to St Andrews and Yan Yean.
“The symptoms of patients who test positive for COVID are assessed and based on this assessment each patient in the Pathway is risk stratified as either high, medium or low risk.
“The care and monitoring of patients at medium or high risk is coordinated by Austin Health while those at low risk are referred to their GP or community health provider to coordinate their care.
“All patients undergo a social welfare assessment by our community health partners as well as ongoing monitoring of symptoms with a clear pathway in place to escalate the level of care they receive as needed.
“The North East COVID Positive Care Pathway is recognition of the great work being done by Austin Health, and is helping us to build on the strong relationships we have with our community health partners.
“The hard work of staff including Dr Morgan Rose and others who have developed tools to help us monitor and track patients that are considered the ‘gold standard’ and have been adopted by health services around Melbourne,” he said.
Dr Rose said the monitoring of patients is done using a system based on the COVID Care web tool developed by Austin Health earlier this year.
“COVID patients can experience rapid and severe deterioration so we need to continually monitor them so we can detect this deterioration as quickly as possible,” Morgan said.
“A key part of the pathway is collaborative clinical monitoring of patients by Austin Health and community healthcare providers using a system similar to COVID Care web tool.
“COVID positive patients receive a daily reminder text message and then input details of their symptoms into a confidential login page with this information uploaded to a secure Austin Health server.
“GPs and community healthcare providers can also access information about the symptoms of patients they’re caring for and review the symptoms to identify those who may require further urgent follow up,” he said.
The North East COVID Positive Pathway program will be integrated with the planned North East Metro Public Health Unit also being led by Austin Health to provide coordinated COVID management throughout Melbourne’s north east metropolitan region.