St John WA and Fiona Stanley Hospital are joint finalists in CAA Awards 2022 for Virtual Emergency Medicine (VEM)

Press Release
  • VEM will contend for Excellence in Patient Care award at Council of Ambulance Authorities (CAA) Awards on August 12.
  • VEM has contributed towards reducing Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) ambulance cycle times and ramping before Perth’s 2022 COVID-19 surge.
  • VEM is helping to improve patient satisfaction with some patients by-passing busy hospital EDs.

St John WA and South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) are proud to announce Virtual Emergency Medicine (VEM) is a finalist in the Council of Ambulance Authorities Awards (CAA) 2022.

VEM, an innovative initiative generated by FSH’s emergency department (ED), is a first service of its kind in Australia and has been revolutionising emergency patient care by improving ambulance and ED flow since its launch in February 2021.

The initiative will now compete against New South Wales Ambulance’s ‘clinical response to a global pandemic’ in the category of Excellence in Patient Care, with a winner to be announced at the CAA Awards on August 12 in Sydney.

VEM allows St John WA paramedics to initiate a remote consultation for non-priority one patients aged 16 years and over, with the aim of fast tracking them to the appropriate hospital ward – away from ED, discharging on scene or diverting them to another suitable service.

The FSH VEM command centre teleconferences with paramedics, or conducts video calls when possible, to assess and triage patients while enroute to the hospital, or increasingly at the scene.

It is helping to improve patient satisfaction, FSH ambulance cycle times and has contributed towards reduced ramping before Perth’s 2022 COVID-19 surge.

VEM has the capability to be a nation-leading technology, with potential to be rolled out across countless hospitals, with more than $10 million in WA government funding to expand VEM across the health system.

Ambulance services across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea contended in the awards, which will celebrate 15 years this year.

St John WA Paramedic Giovanni Pampano utilising Virtual Emergency Medicine for a patient. Credit: South Metropolitan Health Service.

“The awards are designed to encourage innovation, enable services to share their work and learn from each other,” CAA Chief Executive David Waters said.

“It was independently judged by a panel of industry respected judges from across the globe.”

St John WA Acting CEO Antony Smithson welcomed the nomination, saying it was a testament to the ongoing hard work and innovation between healthcare services and St John to deliver first class care to patients.

“Developing technology solutions which deliver accurate, timely patient information from St John to EDs before we’ve even arrived is something we’ve been working towards for a long time,” Mr Smithson said.

“Collaborating with Fiona Stanley Hospital and South Metropolitan Health Service to bring their innovation to fruition is helping each of our organisations to deliver a seamless experience for patients.

“It is an approach I believe we can harness to ensure whichever part of the patient journey we have carriage for, we can deliver the best experience to that patient every time.”

With further planned communication and technical integration with SMHS, VEM will further increase its positive impact on the WA community.

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