Virtual Assessment Clinics improve outcomes and save health service millions


A consultant-led virtual process now commonly used to manage fractures in patients, is improving outcomes and providing a cost saving of over €22 million to the health service, according to the National Clinical Programme for Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery (NCPTOS).

From March 2020 – October 2021, over 65,000 patients were assessed remotely through virtual Fracture Assessment Clinics. In analysis of the services during this time, it was found that the majority of these patients were discharged (63%), 36% required an onward referral and only 1% converted to surgery. This analysis concluded that the cost savings to the health service was over €22 million.

Mr Paddy Kenny Joint National Clinical Lead NCPTOS at the virtual Fracture Assessment Clinic seminar held at RCSI highlighted the impact this service re-design has had on all 18 trauma sites where these clinics are now operational. He said that “virtual Fracture Assessment Clinics (vFAC) 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 multi-disciplinary in nature and are led by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon”.