If the experience with Covid-19 in other countries is anything to go by, the Australian health system is set to be put under serious strain over the coming weeks and months.
With the number of cases rising by almost 10-fold every fortnight in the world's hotspots for the novel coronavirus, hospitals are frequently overrun, making telehealth and home visits appealing from a public health perspective.
Two of the country's leading health care companies are clearly banking on this trend of home care, which was gaining traction even before the coronavirus hit.
Ramsay Health Care (ASX: RHC) subsidiary Ramsay Health Plus and Australian Unity subsidiary Remedy Healthcare have today announced a joint venture to provide coordinated care during and after a patient's hospitalisation.
Called Ramsay Connect, the JV will draw on its parent companies' expertise and provide people with greater choice and convenience as to where they access their care.
The companies did not mention the coronavirus outbreak in today's announcement, but it happens to coincide with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) declaration of a pandemic.
Ramsay Health Care CEO Danny Sims says Ramsay Connect will set a new benchmark in care for patients, facilitating seamless care delivery models from hospital to home and providing patients with a truly integrated healthcare experience.
"Leveraging 70 years of combined experience in delivering the highest quality healthcare, Ramsay Connect will provide community and home-based care including rehabilitation in the home post joint replacement," says Sims.
"Ramsay Connect will also look to deliver a range of other services including out-of-hospital palliative care, chronic disease and mental health management programs.
"Our service will be accessible and flexible, working in conjunction with the patient's clinical teams both in and out of hospital ensuring we deliver care that is evidence-based, in the most cost-effective environment."
He adds expanding healthcare services beyond hospital walls will integrate care across all service providers, including general practitioners (GPs).
Rohan Mead, group managing director of Australian Unity, says that the new business model wil create services that can be delivered at a lower cost than the traditional longer hospital stays, while still providing high quality outcomes and greater choice for patients.
"Australia's healthcare sector is changing dramatically, with an ageing population driving a shift from the provision of acute and episodic treatment to the ongoing management of the nation's burgeoning level of chronic disease," says Mead.
"The sector needs to similarly evolve to effectively and efficiently meet these changes, which includes delivering solutions that are outside the traditional parameters of service delivery in a hospital or healthcare institution.
"We need healthcare that can be flexibly integrated into people's lives, particularly where they are living independently and need and want access to suitable and effective clinical care in a setting of their choice."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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