February 24, 2024

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Tech Reshaping Patient Transport in Western Australia

The implementation of the Patient Transport Coordination Hub (PaTCH) in Western Australia is a significant technological advancement aimed at enhancing planned transfers between hospitals and addressing the root causes of ambulance ramping under the current Government’s strategic plan.

Initially piloted at East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS), PaTCH is now being permanently integrated at EMHS and is set for expansion across other metropolitan sites in the near future. This innovative system operates from 6 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, and features dedicated staff empowered to seamlessly book, schedule, and allocate non-emergency patient transport services. By consolidating existing booking systems into a unified process, PaTCH streamlines operations for healthcare professionals, staff, and patients alike.

Operating under the auspices of WA’s State Health Operations Centre (SHOC), PaTCH synergises with the new WA Virtual Emergency Department (WAVED), offering patients requiring non-urgent transport a direct pathway to suitable clinic or hospital facilities.

With an anticipated coordination of approximately 77,000 patient trips annually, including 23,000 hospital-to-hospital transfers, PaTCH represents a pivotal component of the government’s $487 million investment in bolstering emergency care access and optimising patient flow.

The Premier expressed enthusiasm regarding the launch of PaTCH, positioning it as a crucial addition to the State Health Operations Centre’s repertoire. He underscored PaTCH’s potential to expedite patient flow and manage surge demand during peak periods, further emphasising its role in the ongoing campaign against ambulance ramping, which witnessed a notable 44% reduction in ramping hours in December 2023 compared to the previous year.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson echoed the Premier’s sentiments, emphasising PaTCH’s role as a technological tool in the broader effort to mitigate ambulance ramping hours. Sanderson stresses the importance of optimising patient pathways through enhanced collaboration between transport providers and healthcare facilities, ultimately striving to enhance the overall patient experience.

The introduction of PaTCH signifies a paradigm shift in patient transport coordination, leveraging technology to foster greater efficiency, collaboration, and patient-centric care within Western Australia’s healthcare landscape. By centralising and standardising the process of non-emergency patient transfers, PaTCH not only addresses immediate logistical challenges but also contributes to the overarching goal of optimising resource allocation and enhancing patient outcomes.

At its core, PaTCH embodies the convergence of healthcare and technology, exemplifying how innovative solutions can drive tangible improvements in service delivery and patient care. By harnessing digital platforms and data-driven insights, PaTCH empowers healthcare professionals to make informed decisions, allocate resources effectively, and deliver timely, coordinated care to patients across Western Australia.

Moreover, PaTCH’s integration within the broader ecosystem of the State Health Operations Centre underscores its strategic importance in the government’s efforts to modernise and optimise healthcare delivery. By aligning technological innovation with policy objectives, PaTCH sets a precedent for future initiatives aimed at leveraging technology to address complex healthcare challenges and enhance system-wide resilience.

Looking ahead, the successful implementation and expansion of PaTCH will serve as a testament to the transformative potential of technology in healthcare. As Western Australia continues to prioritise innovation and efficiency in its healthcare system, PaTCH stands poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of patient transport coordination and emergency care delivery for years to come.


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