St Stephen’s Hervey Bay showcases digital healthcare

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Australia’s first fully-integrated digital hospital gives insights into leading edge technology during e-health community event

The digital revolution is sweeping the world and healthcare is no exception. Participants of a digital health community event at St Stephen’s Hospital, Hervey Bay, recently got insights into what goes into the most cutting edge technology at the hospital. The state-of-the-art systems at St Stephen’s include automatic feeds that transfer patient data directly from monitoring systems to each patient’s electronic health record (EHR); real-time alerts to doctors and nurses regarding their patients’ allergies, medications, and any abnormal vital signs or test results; remote access to patient charts via computers and tablets and electronic meal ordering linked to each patient’s medical and dietary requirements.

The event was organised in February by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA)’s, a not-for-profit digital health community dedicated to the advancement of e-health in the country. HISA CEO Dr Louise Schaper said, “Digital healthcare systems like that at St Stephen’s integrate an array of leading edge technologies, equipment and practices to deliver holistic, high-quality patient care. Witnessing the latest healthcare technologies, practices and processes in operation, and seeing how they cooperate in an integrated network environment is a unique learning opportunity for delegates.”

Those attending the event had the opportunity to understand the experiences and learnings of the UnitingCare Health team – and those of technology partners like Cerner – that developed the hospital’s state-of-the-art systems. Technical briefings were provided on the devices and technologies chosen, the e-health interface, clinical informatics systems, automated medication management, the IT infrastructure and security systems, medical and clinical engagement, and benefits realisation program.

Executive Director of UnitingCare Health and APHA President Richard Royle said the Hervey Bay region should be proud of its role in leading the e-health revolution in this country. “It is not often that a regional community has access to a healthcare facility that is more advanced than those available in the capital cities,” Mr Royle said.

The HISA event, its first in Queensland this year, attracted leading clinicians, academics, health IT specialists and administrators from the country’s foremost hospitals and research institutions. St Stephen’s Hospital – worth a whopping $96 million – was selected to host the event by virtue of being the country’s only fully integrated digital hospital and the first to achieve Stage 6 certification from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

A key feature of the event was a tour of the hospital, considered a national ‘showcase’ of the latest e-health technologies and how they integrate with advanced care to transform the experience and outcomes of patients.

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