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Case Study

How West Moreton HHS operationalized its site-of-care shift strategy

15 Minute Read

Overview

The challenge

Health systems around the world are experiencing a simultaneous increase in demand from a growing, aging patient population and a decrease in staff supply and bed capacity. In response, governments and health systems are shifting access points away from the hospital campus to alternative settings that promise greater scale—and they plan to increase these shifts in the coming years. Without a centralized, coordinated approach to shifting services to alternative sites or modalities, health systems risk a future service portfolio that consists of a bloated or duplicative set of access points that increases variation, drives up costs, and worsens access, experience, and quality.

The organization

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service (HHS) is a public health system with one 350-bed hospital and four rural community sites in Queensland, Australia. West Moreton HHS services the fastest growing region in Queensland, with a patient population projected to increase dramatically from 312,000 today to 588,000 by 2036.

The approach

Since launching their virtual care strategy in 2016, West Moreton HHS has moved several services from in-person-only to virtual or hybrid options. To operationalize their strategy, they created a blueprint that they follow for each shift. West Moreton took a centralized approach to deciding on and implementing site-of-care shifts that ensures all new care models are sustainable and not duplicative. The three steps in West Moreton's process are detailed below.

The result

Since 2016, West Moreton HHS has launched seven virtual programs that shift in-person care to digital platforms using RPM technology, using the blueprint to implement each. This has enabled the system to mitigate capacity pressures by reducing preventable hospitalizations and bed days for multiple cohorts of complex patients.

 

Approach

How West Moreton HHS created a blueprint to operationalize their site-of-care shift strategy

In 2016, West Moreton HHS began exploring virtual solutions to unsustainable demand pressures from their growing and aging patient population. That year, they entered a first-in-Australia partnership with Philips to launch MeCare, a longitudinal virtual chronic disease management program for multi-morbid patients. Since then, West Moreton HHS has launched six additional programs on the Philips platform to meet rising demand from other subsets of complex patients by keeping them out of the hospital. They plan to continue shifting other services onto the Philips platform.

To operationalize their strategy, West Moreton HHS created a blueprint that they could follow for each care shift by centralizing and standardizing the process through which they identify, pursue, and launch new care models. By adopting a Center of Excellence model and centralizing institutional knowledge on how to shift patients to new care sites, West Moreton HHS continuously improves its ability to respond to new pressures on capacity.

 

The three steps

Here are the three steps West Moreton HHS used to create a blueprint for shifting services to alternative sites:

  • Step

    Develop a decision-making framework that ensures care shifts deliver on system-wide goals

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  • Step

    Centralize expertise on site-of-care shifts within a dedicated team

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  • Step

    Templatize the process for gaining buy-in and implementing care shifts

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Results

Creating a blueprint for site-of-care shifts has enabled West Moreton HHS to proactively manage demand from multiple cohorts of patients. The health system’s thoughtful, standardized approach to shifting patients to more appropriate, lower-cost settings equips them to respond to current and future challenges without compromising care quality and safety.

Below is a snapshot of the results from some of West Moreton’s virtual chronic disease management programs:

23%

Reduction in potentially preventable hospitalizations for multi-morbid chronic disease patients

22%

Reduction in bed days for multi-morbid chronic disease patients

77%

Reduction in time to full medication titration for congestive heart failure patients

853 hr.

Reduction in travel time for patients with congestive heart failure to receive treatment

The success of these programs proves the efficacy of West Moreton’s approach. As a result, they are expanding their virtual service offerings and launching a command center to centralize their virtual care teams.

Footnotes

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