ACT rolls out IT upgrades for health services

Tuesday, 07 May, 2019

ACT rolls out IT upgrades for health services

The ACT public health system is rolling out new digital technologies designed to improve safety, efficiency and patient outcomes.

The upgrades form part of the ACT’s new Digital Health Strategy 2019–2029.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris has released the ACT Digital Health Strategy, a 10-year vision that maps out a clear pathway for the health system in the digital age and which includes a range of new technologies for doctors, nurses and patients.

“The Digital Health Strategy will ensure the ACT public health system is able to adapt as new digital technologies are made available to improve health services and clinical care,” Fitzharris said.

“Backed by a $41 million commitment, this strategy is about getting ahead of the game and enabling a seamless integration of new technologies and advances in health care. This is a strategy that gives patients, clinicians and health care managers peace of mind.”

The strategy will include the rollout of:

  • a new ACT Health mobile phone app providing people with real-time waiting times for Canberra’s walk-in centres and emergency departments;
  • electronic way-finding within hospitals to help consumers check into their appointments at various kiosks at both Canberra Hospital and University of Canberra Hospital;
  • new devices for doctors and nurses to reduce the number of devices staff need to carry around and streamline the way that all clinical staff communicate; and
  • patient flowboards that will provide a whole new way of managing the movement and management of a patient’s journey throughout the hospital.

“One practical example of this strategy is the ACT Health mobile app now available for all Canberrans. This app will help people to access details on all ACT emergency departments and walk-in centres, providing regularly updated information about average waiting times, the number of people waiting and providing an interactive map for travel times and directions,” Fitzharris said.

“This app is designed to give people timely information to make timely decisions for their healthcare needs, putting them at the centre of their health care.

“Another example is the new electronic devices for staff, which have a personal duress alarm, and more applications to help manage their day-to-day workload, helping keep our staff safe and saving them time during the day.”

Underpinning the strategy are three clear goals that will drive future investments: to deliver patient-centred care; enable smart, efficient health services through the latest technology; and ensure the digital opportunities enable more research and collaboration.

“Through this strategy we will increasingly be seeing technology and devices that give patients more access to and control of their own health care, in collaboration with clinicians, so they can be treated in settings outside of the hospital and increasingly in the home,” Fitzharris said.

“These technological advances are changing our lives and providing further assurances that tests and results are streamlined and intricately linked to ensure faster assessments and diagnoses. An example of this is the electronic positive patient identification solution used for blood collections, which ensures that the ordered test relates to the patient before the blood is collected and the blood sample is tracked throughout the process.

“Overall, this strategy is consistent with the ACT Health Quality Strategy 2018–2028, both of which tie in with the ACT Health Territory-Wide Health Strategy.”

The Digital Health Strategy has been well informed by key stakeholders among them:

  • Health Care Consumers’ Association
  • ACT Mental Health Consumer Network
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Capital Health Network
  • Australian Computer Society
  • Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
  • Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners
  • Orthopaedics ACT
  • Health Informatics Society of Australia
  • Staff within ACT Health, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce and Canberra Health Services
  • Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation
  • Various ACT Government Directorates

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