Virtual fracture clinic provides out of hospital care

A virtual fracture clinic at the Royal Adelaide Hospital has seen a 62% increase in assessments for South Australians in the last year.      

The Virtual Orthopaedic Fracture Clinic is a nurse-led initiative that provides specialist care for outpatients with breaks, fractures and other orthopaedic-related injuries without the burden of travelling to hospital.

In the past year alone, the clinic virtually reviewed almost 2,000 outpatients, reaching a 280% increase since 2017, when it assessed around 400 patients in South Australia.

“The virtual clinic continues to provide exceptional care and accessibility to patients while significantly reducing the number of outpatients attending the RAH,” says Royal Adelaide Hospital fracture clinic nurse, Joanne Thompson.

Originally created to continue highly skilled orthopaedic service to patients when in-person assessments were cancelled due to COVID-19, the clinic is improving care for rural and regional outpatients.

The state-wide clinic now assesses patients from metropolitan, regional and rural South Australia as well as the Northern Territory and Mildura.

“We assess around 40 patients each week and who come to us through a variety of referral pathways from within hospitals and in the community, including patients discharged from hospital wards and emergency departments, and GPs,” says Ms Thompson.

“Our orthopaedic doctors review the x-rays and provide medical advice, only seeing consumers in person if they are experiencing problems associated with their injury.

Fracture clinic staff assess referrals and determines if the patient is suitable for virtual review, then the orthopaedic team liaises with the GP and patient to arrange x-rays at a local provider.

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