Telehealth consultation before inter-hospital transfer after falls in a subacute hospital (the PREVENT-2 study)

Biswadev Mitra, Amelia Law, Joseph Mathew, Amelia Crabtree, Helen Mertin, Andrew Underhill, Michael Noonan, Peter Hunter, De Villiers Smit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: Inter-hospital transfers are increasingly common due to the regionalisation of healthcare, but are associated with patient discomfort, high costs and adverse events. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a trauma outreach service for preventing inter-hospital transfers to a major trauma centre. Methods: This was an observational pre- and post-intervention study over a 12-month period from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021. Eligible patients sustained a fall at Caulfield Hospital, a subacute care hospital specialising in community services, rehabilitation, geriatric medicine and aged mental health. The intervention was delivery of site-specific education at Caulfield Hospital and a trauma outreach service by specialist trauma clinicians at The Alfred Hospital who provided remote assessment, assisted with clinical management decisions and advised on appropriateness of transfer. Results: The present study included 160 patients in the pre-intervention phase and 203 after the intervention. The primary outcome of transfer occurred in 19 (11.9%) patients in the pre-intervention phase and 4 (2.0%) in the post-intervention phase (P < 0.001). In the subgroup of patients without pelvis or long bone fractures, pre-intervention transfer occurred for 17 (10.9%) patients and post-intervention transfer occurred for 4 (2.0%) patients (P < 0.001). CT imaging was performed for 54 (33.8%) patients in the pre-intervention and 45 (22.2%) patients in the post-intervention group (P = 0.014). Conclusions: Telehealth consultation with a trauma specialist was associated with significant reduction of inter-hospital transfers, and significant reduction of CT imaging. This supports continuation of the service with scope for expansion and evaluation of patient-centred outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-311
Number of pages6
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • cervical spine
  • clearance
  • inter-hospital transfer
  • telehealth
  • wounds and injuries

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