Modelled economic evaluation of a virtual emergency department in Victoria

Long Khanh Dao Le (Leading Author), Thao Thai, Peter A. Cameron, Muhuntha Sri-Ganeshan, Gerard M. O'Reilly, Biswadev Mitra, Ziad Nehme, Lisa Brichko, Andrew Underhill, Claire Charteris, Diana Egerton-Warburton, Cathrine Mihalopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Objective: Virtual ED (VED) can potentially alleviate ED overcrowding which has been a public health challenge. The aim of the present study was to conduct a return-on-investment analysis of a VED programme developed in response to changing healthcare needs in Australia. Methods: An economic model was developed based on initial patient outcome data to assess the healthcare costs, potential costs saved and return on investment (ROI) from the VED. The VED programme operating as part of Alfred Health Emergency Services. The participants were the first 188 patients accessing the Alfred Health VED. VED is the delivery of emergency assessment and management of specific patients virtually via audio-visual teleconferencing. ROI ratios that compare cost savings with intervention costs. Results: The mean total operational cost of VED for 79 days for 188 patients was A$344 117 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] $296 800–$392 088). The VED led to a potential A$286 779 (95% UI $241 688–$330 568) healthcare cost saving from reductions in emergency visits and A$97 569 (95% UI $74 233–$123 117) cost saving in ambulance services. The ROI ratio was estimated at 1.12 (95% UI 0.96–1.32). Conclusions: The VED was cost neutral in a conservatively modelled scenario but promising if any hospital admission could be saved. Ongoing research examining a larger cohort with community follow up is required to confirm this promising result.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1025
Number of pages6
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Australia
  • economic evaluation
  • virtual ED

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