Co-creating virtual care: Virtual Outpatient Integration for Chronic Disease (VOICeD)

How come you didn’t attend your last appointment?” is a frequently asked question in healthcare, with thousands of Queenslanders missing outpatient appointments each year. For people with chronic diseases, managing multiple medical appointments can be challenging – and that is particularly true for those residing in rural and remote areas of Queensland, where distance is a significant barrier.

Dr Gaurav Puri – Staff Specialist in Endocrinology (Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service) and Chair of the Statewide Diabetes Clinical Network – realised just how challenging attending medical appointments can be in conversation on Thursday Island with a man living with diabetes. Diabetes, renal and cardiac conditions are often concurrent and can require up to 10 or more appointments each year. The man told Dr Puri he could not keep coming to the clinic to see different doctors about each part of his care – he had three specialist appointments booked over two weeks, which would then require a fourth appointment with his General Practitioner (GP) to coordinate his care, and this cycle would recur every three months. Continual travel to the clinic was difficult and disruptive to his life, with Thursday Island 4 hours from Cairns, including a ferry crossing. This conversation inspired Dr Puri to develop a specialist model that would assist this man – and many people with chronic disease – who need frequent healthcare from a multiple providers and cannot easily access this face to face care.

Watch the animation.

Dr Puri led the development of VOICeD: Virtual Outpatient Integration for Chronic Disease. VOICeD allows patients with chronic disease or who need team care to see multiple healthcare providers at one appointment via telehealth – while telehealth is increasingly common, this is the first time patients could virtually see multiple specialists (Diabetes–Renal–Cardiac) in one multi-specialist virtual clinic. VOICeD is true care integration, with specialists co-designing a combined plan for care in partnership with the patient – and all in one virtual appointment. To support the development of VOICeD, the HEAL team worked with Dr Puri and colleagues to journey map the experience, ran a co-design workshop with potential users in Cairns, tested the tele-health experience with these users, and advised on the process and communication materials.

Who was involved?

In addition to Dr Puri and colleagues from Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, the QUT Design Lab team for this project were Professor Evonne Miller (co-Director of HEAL) and Jessica Cheers (UX Designer).

What were the outcomes?

The first patient was seen in September 2020, with uptake rapidly growing in our post- COVID world.

Find out more.

VOICeD Co-Design Workshop