Health Transformation Lab responds to COVID-19

Health Transformation Lab responds to COVID-19

RMIT’s Health Transformation Lab has partnered with Australian social enterprise MediStays to launch a critical new accommodation service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This path-breaking initiative connects patients, families and health workers, who need to self-isolate, with dedicated and discounted self-isolation accommodation close to hospitals around the country, easing the burden on hospitals, supporting individuals to isolate “well”, all the while utilising unoccupied hotel rooms.

Director of RMIT's Health Transformation Lab, Professor Vishaal Kishore Director of RMIT's Health Transformation Lab, Professor Vishaal Kishore

Professor Vishaal Kishore, Director of the Cisco supported Health Transformation Lab, says MediStays’ new COVID-19 accommodation service delivers a dynamic solution for people in a time of crisis, while producing a positive impact for both the Australian health system and the hotel industry.

“At a time of unprecedented strain on the traditional parts of our health system, we need to quickly and flexibly release new capacity into and around our hospitals and care institutions,” Professor Kishore says.

“MediStays is a proven model and this new partnered initiative enables them to bring on capacity really quickly to help support people in a time of crisis,” he says.

“At the Health Transformation Lab, we are focussed on working with innovators and health leaders to explore how technology and innovation can mobilise radical new health interventions and solve some of our most complex – urgent – health issues. This is a really great example of that.”

Founded in  2016, MediStays has fast become a trusted website for patients, families and carers needing accommodation near Australian hospitals.

In partnership with the Health Transformation Lab, MediStays is building on its existing relationships with hospitals and not-for profit patient lodgings, as well as hotels - who are experiencing occupancy rates of less than 20 percent - to provide discounted accommodation near hospitals for three critical groups:

● Patients who are immunocompromised and need accommodation as they elect to self-isolate to protect themselves from COVID19;

● Those with confirmed or suspected COVID19 who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic and can be accommodated in a hotel or apartment and supported by care and health workers from community nurse partner Bolton Clarke;

● Healthcare workers who are at higher risk than the general population and who are now electing to stay closer to the hospital to either avoid putting their families at risk or to ensure quality rest as they experience longer hours and on call duties.

Co-founder of MediStays, Sarah Everitt Co-founder of MediStays, Sarah Everitt

MediStays co-founder Associate Professor Sarah Everitt says the partnership with RMIT’s Health Transformation Lab provides an opportunity to scale up this radical solution to achieve maximum impact for the health system, the hotel industry and individuals.

“Our overarching aim really is to safely accommodate people outside of hospitals and take pressure off the health system,” Associate Professor Everitt said.

“MediStays is already a well-known and valuable resource for hospital staff and not-for-profit organisations who have been coming to us for several years now to coordinate trusted and discounted accommodation for patients, their carers and families.”

“By teaming with the Health Transformation Lab, we can rapidly scale up this coordinated accommodation service in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are working closely with our accommodation partners to identify safe hospital alternatives for guests with and without a suspected or positive COVID-19 diagnosis.”

 Associate Professor Everitt says the hotel industry has been overwhelmingly supportive of the new COVID-19 self-isolation accommodation service.

When they launched their new website just two weeks ago, MediStays had just under 100 property partners. In the past week alone, they have been contacted by more than 250 additional properties wanting to offer their rooms, and in some cases, entire hotels, to people impacted by COVID-19, whether they be patients, vulnerable people who are self-isolating, or health workers who need to rest but remain close to their place of work..

Part of the COVID-19 MediStays accommodation service includes ensuring hotel rooms have Wi-Fi set up for patients requiring telehealth appointments, organising the delivery of meals and groceries; and coordinating care workers and nurses for those who need it.


Story: Rachel Wells


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.