Remote monitoring and artificial intelligence (AI) are being used by Medibank and Calvary to support local health authorities manage COVID-19 cases.
Both technology solutions used by the Calvary-Medibank joint venture are designed to take pressure off the health system.
The joint venture has supported more than 130,000 people in the community to date.
Medibank group executive CEO of health services Dr Andrew Wilson said, "Every health system has limits and COVID is currently testing these. Using technology to assist in the assessment of the level of care people need and then provide telehealth support or remote care monitoring is an opportunity to take some of this pressure off."
In response to the surge in cases at the beginning of the year, people registering a positive COVID result in Queensland may have been contacted by Billie, a voice-based AI assistant for Queensland Health’s COVID support program.
Billie sent an SMS to flag that she would be in touch with the subsequent call consisting of a series of questions.
People were then connected to the care pathway most appropriate. This included information to help manage their symptoms at home through to a follow-up contact via telehealth for additional support.
Calvary National CEO Martin Bowles said AI can provide support at a scale currently needed to support the community.
“AI is a powerful complement to the other services available to the public to combat the significant uptick in cases which has placed pressure on health resources. It’s a way to connect a large number of people to the care they need sooner, which benefits them and the system at large,” he said.
Calvary and Medibank have combined their clinical and telehealth experience to remotely support and monitor people who have received a COVID positive test result and are well enough to stay at home.
The COVID Care at Home program offers a range of support including the ability for patients to measure their pulse, oxygen levels and/or temperature when needed, using equipment delivered to their home.
Dr Wilson said the increasing use and acceptance of technology to support care in the community has broad applications beyond the current public health crisis.
“Virtual care, whether it be hospital in the home, specialist mental health services or primary care support, is the next frontier for healthcare in Australia. It’s a way to reduce pressure across the public and private health system, as well as an opportunity to design care around the needs and preferences of patients and their families,” he said.