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This was an improvement partnership supported by the Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund.

Participating organisations

  • Albury Wodonga Health
  • Austin Health
  • Ballarat Health Services
  • Bendigo Health Care
  • Eastern Health
  • Echuca Regional Health
  • Goulburn Valley Health
  • Latrobe Regional Health
  • Mercy Health
  • Northeast Health Wangaratta
  • Peninsula Health
  • South West Healthcare
  • The Royal Children's Hospital
  • Western Health
  • West Gippsland Healthcare Group

Summary

Waiting for treatment can have a detrimental effect on patient outcomes, so minimising delays in emergency departments (ED) is critical to ensuring Victorians have access to care the care they require. However, EDs do not operate in isolation and delays are often due to blockages elsewhere along the patient journey. 

The Patient flow partnership was established in 2017 to improve patient flow and access to care by identifying and removing bottlenecks in the patient journey. The partnership was an evolution of the Improving emergency access collaborative.

Together, 15 health services, including nine from regional areas, worked towards improving against statewide performance targets as well as individual initiative targets. 

The health services met regularly to share their experiences and learnings. Industry coaches – experts in improvement methodology and project management – also worked directly with the health services throughout the partnership to provide mentoring and capability development.

Aim

Improve patient flow so that patients have access to timely, high-quality care.

Outcomes

Participating health services implemented a range of different solutions suited to their organisational needs. 

Some examples of individual and collective achievements are listed below:

  • 17,578 more ambulance transfers in time were achieved across the partnership.
  • 26,900 more patients had an ED length of stay of less than four hours.
  • A 620 per cent return on investment was achieved after 12 months.
  • Peninsula Health developed ‘Green Light’, a simple checklist which enables acute teams to identify patients suitable for transfer to the sub-acute ward without geriatrician review. This reduced acute length of stay by more than 2.5 days for transfers using the checklist.
  • Werribee Mercy reviewed and redesigned its short stay unit pathways and ED nursing staff responsibilities. This reduced time to treatment by four minutes on average (from 41 minutes to 37 minutes) despite presentations increasing by over 13 per cent.
  • Northeast Health Wangaratta implemented a ‘countdown to discharge’ process that set an estimated discharge date for patients based on the care required. Within the sub-acute ward, this reduced average length of stay by two days.

Page last updated: 23 Dec 2020

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