SA Health has announced the launch of a new virtual care service for women needing urgent attention for their gynaecological concerns.
Run by the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN), the virtual Women’s Assessment Service will provide pregnant women across the state the option to receive an urgent assessment from an experienced midwife via video link.
Launching for a 12-month pilot, the service will be available to those less than 20 weeks in their pregnancy and who are experiencing signs of pregnancy loss; pregnant women experiencing nausea and vomiting; and those with other gynaecological concerns.
WHY IT MATTERS
The virtual service catering to gynaecological concerns is said to be a first in Australia. This allows women experiencing pain or bleeding in early pregnancy to no longer present and wait in an emergency department “during such a challenging time,” SA Health said in a statement.
In a recent trial, the service received high acceptance from participants. Aside from expressing intent to use the service again in the future, they also said they preferred the virtual service more than presenting to a hospital.
THE LARGER TREND
The launch of the virtual Women’s Assessment Service builds on WCHN’s success in operating the Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care Service, which has been made permanent following A$30.8 million ($21 million) in funding over four years from the state government. The adult SA Virtual Care Service has also been institutionalised through additional state funding of A$67.8 million ($47 million) over the next five years.
ON THE RECORD
“Pregnancy loss is a deeply personal experience, and the ability for women to manage this in the comfort and privacy of their own home instead of attending the [ED], will go a long way in helping navigate such an incredibly difficult time,” said SA Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton.
“This service is a great example of how technology can be harnessed to provide compassionate, patient-focused care and keep people out of hospital unnecessarily,” he added.