Virtual fracture clinics prove successful

Improving outcomes and saving money

Deborah Condon

May 12, 2022

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  • Virtual assessment clinics used to manage patients with fractures are improving outcomes and leading to big cost savings, according to the National Clinical Programme for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (NCPTOS).

    Between March 2020 and October 2021, over 65,000 patients were assessed remotely through consultant-led fracture assessment clinics. An analysis of the clinics during this period found that 63% of these patients were discharged, 36% required an onward referral and only 1% converted to surgery.

    The analysis also concluded that during this time period, these clinics saved the health service over €22 million.

    Speaking at the recent virtual fracture assessment clinic seminar held at RCSI, Mr Paddy Kenny, joint national clinical lead of NCPTOS, highlighted the impact these clinics have had in all 18 trauma sites where they are now operational. 

    “Virtual fracture assessment clinics were adopted early during the pandemic and are now part of clinical practice delivering safe, effective and efficient care to patients presenting with stable fractures. These clinics are multidisciplinary in nature and are led by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon,” he explained.

    The clinics have been identified by the HSE as a safe, patient-centred, efficient and cost-effective service that can assist in enabling patients to be assessed in a timely manner and in line with international best practice standards.

    They ensure that only patients who require in-person appointments are booked to attend the hospital’s fracture clinic. This improves the experience for patients and optimises hospital resources. 

    Led by Mr David Moore and Mr Paddy Kenny as joint national clinical leads, NCPTOS is a joint RCSI and HSE initiative aimed at improving and standardising the quality of care, improving access for patients and providing a framework for the HSE, hospital managers, clinicians and the multidisciplinary teams caring for trauma and orthopaedic patients.

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