In fact, a study of a virtual hospital prototype revealed that this care model shortened a patient’s length of stay by 17%, saw a reduction in costs of care per case by 16%, and resulted in 26% fewer patient deaths or discharge to hospice and led to 36% fewer patient falls .
Launched off the back of a successful Sydney-based pilot project, the partnership sees highly experienced intensivists and critical care nurses based at Royal Perth Hospital provide critical support to doctors and nurses in Atlanta using the virtual hospital program.
Importantly, the program enables staff in Perth to provide nighttime critical care support to patients in Atlanta, during daytime hours in Perth. In a 2017 study, it estimates a 20% reduction in mortality rates with the implementation of future tele-ICUs.
“You have to think to yourself, 'we're all stakeholders in this health system in Australia, right?’ If I get in a car crash in Melbourne and am taken to a hospital, my odds of survival are 20% better if I’m taken to a hospital that has this program,” says Joe.
The program’s impressive results soon caught the attention of the Australian media, with 7 News Perth running a TV segment on the project
in May 2018. During the piece, Dr Timothy Buchman of Emory Healthcare explained how the program worked, Philips ASEAN Pacific CEO Caroline Clark discussed the benefits, and Roger Cook, State Minister for Health for West Australia, described the technology as a game changer for hospitals across the country.
Joe says landing the TV news spot was one of his proudest moments at Philips.
“It took a long time to set up,” he explains.
Philips, however, understands that health care extends far beyond the boundaries of a physical hospital. Which is why it dedicates just as much time and resources to developing its ambulatory telehealth programs.
“Through a hub-and-spokes model, we’re monitoring hundreds of patients across hundreds of health districts in the United States,” says Joe. “And then we’re monitoring them across the transition into their home and into recovery.”
In fact, in Joe’s mind, building a “seamless” bridge between the hospital and home is one of the company’s greatest achievements – an ongoing contribution to modern healthcare typified by the company’s partnership with Queensland’s West Moreton Health.
“Two of the biggest challenges faced in regional Australia are poorer health literacy among patients and a shortage of senior physicians,” says Joe. “And so we partnered with West Moreton Health to establish MeCare, a wraparound service that keeps patient with multiple chronic diseases who are frequent hospital users – those admitted to hospital at least three times a year – out of hospital.”The first project of its kind for Philips in Australia
, MeCare aims to improve health outcomes in Queensland by putting patients in the driving seat of their recovery.
The program requires patients to regularly take their own blood pressure, pulse and weight and submit their data, using the Philips eCareCompanion, to a secured cloud-based server that is monitored by a multidisciplinary clinical team ready to intervene when a patient falls outside the parameters deemed optimal for their current stage of recovery.
“These patients have had the experiences of siloes in health services that require them to use their own initiative to book consultations with their GP, cardiologist and diabetes specialist – and to personally keep track of their advices,” says Joe. “MeCare provides one point of contact and empowers the hospital to proactively reach out to the patient to improve their care and wellbeing.”
As of May 2018, the partnership had reduced annual bed days by 17%, as well as a 53% reduction in potential emergency room visits for this group of patients , decreased inpatient care costs by 27% and also led to a 28% reduction in potentially preventable hospitalizations .
“That’s not because we’re discharging people out of the hospital earlier than they should be, it’s because we’re reducing patient management complications,” says Joe.
Helping clients daily with these solutions make for rewarding work, says Joe. But fortunately it’s not the only reason why he regards Philips as a great company for which to work.
Recruited from Philips’ global Commercial Leadership Program, Joe was hired in 2014 to grow Philips nascent Population Health division into a mature business in Australia and New Zealand.
“There was a lot of pressure to perform,” he says. “But the significant resources and support I had access to helped take the pressure off, and helped me realize that the task was far from insurmountable.”
According to Joe, being surrounded by supportive, competent managers instilled within him the belief he needed to reach his goals. Thanks to the support, he achieved what he set out to: he built a growing business from scratch.
“We earned our stripes,” he says. “Now I want to share our experiences with other countries, to help them develop their own virtual hospital businesses… it just makes sense. Utilizing time zones is only the beginning. Setting up global telehealth models – that’s the future.”
©Philips 2018. All rights reserved.
 Compared to a pre-MeCare trend. Without intervention through MeCare, the emergency department visits for this group were predicted to continue to increase.
 Compared to a baseline average of potentially preventable hospitalizations without the MeCare program.