WA Virtual Emergency Department

The WA health system is working together to ease pressure and deliver real improvements throughout the patient journey.

The WA Virtual Emergency Department (WAVED) will give patients the option of being seen virtually in the comfort of their own home when safe and appropriate to do so, rather than waiting in an emergency department (ED). The partnership between the Department of Health, Health Service Providers (HSPs) and St John WA will provide patients with clinically appropriate alternative care options and help reduce unnecessary visits to the ED. This will alleviate whole of hospital pressures such as bed block and discharge.

During phase 1 (commencing on 1 July 2023) HSPs in the metropolitan area will establish or further develop pilot models for older Australians in aged care facilities (see overleaf), this includes:

  • Virtual Emergency Medicine (VEM) at South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS)
  • Community Health in a Virtual Environment (Co-HIVE) at East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS)
  • Emergency Care Navigation Centre (ECNC) at North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS).

This approach allows HSPs to play to their strengths, with each of the three pilots complementing each other to make up WAVED.

Older adults are the focus of Phase 1 because they are at much greater risk of experiencing harm from hospital acquired infections, falls, acute sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass/function), and delirium. While residential aged care is a useful starting point, the NMHS pilot includes models of care for older adults more broadly.

These models will operate independently during an initial pilot period, with trained clinicians connecting aged care residents with the care they need – whether that is in their home, in the hospital or in a community setting.

The Department of Health is progressing a number of initiatives to enable the future streamlining of these models, including the development of:

  • centralised ICT platform to enable a single entry point into WAVED (i.e. Triple Zero (000) plus the potential for an online portal)
  • standardised telehealth solution across HSPs and St John WA
  • standardised operating hours at all services.

Phase 2 aims to integrate the most effective components of the pilot models into a comprehensive WAVED model, ensuring consistent access to virtual emergency care where safe and appropriate for patients in metropolitan residential aged care facilities.

Last reviewed: 26-04-2023