New benchmark set for community healthcare with opening of country’s first fully-integrated digital hospital, St Stephen’s Hospital
Showcasing state-of-the-art technology and practices, St Stephen’s Hospital will transform the delivery of healthcare throughout Australia and, importantly, for the fast-growing communities of Queensland’s Fraser Coast.
The $96 million facility is the first Australian hospital to completely computerise and integrate all its equipment and processes, allowing it to offer a superior level of patient care. The hospital is also a case study in effective community engagement, with local people integral to the design and delivery of the facility.
“St Stephen’s is the first Australian hospital to completely integrate and digitise all its activities, from patient admission to discharge. It employs the latest e-health and modern healthcare technologies," said Mr Richard Royle, Executive Director of UnitingCare Health
Health Minister Peter Dutton officially opened the hospital on 8 December underlining the regional hospital’s national significance. Executive Director of UnitingCare Health, Richard Royle, described St Stephen’s as the ‘new gold standard’ in quality patient care and safety.
“St Stephen’s is the first Australian hospital to completely integrate and digitise all its activities, from patient admission to discharge,” Mr Royle said. “By employing the latest e-health and modern healthcare technologies, together with leading healthcare practices and a top class team of clinicians and staff, we can deliver the best outcomes for the community.”
General Manager of St Stephen’s Hospital, Deb Boyd, said the transition to the new digital systems and related processes had been smooth. “As surgical, medical and nursing staff become more experienced with the new systems, they are beginning to fully appreciate the scale of the benefit for the patient, such as the ability to spend more face-to-face time with them,” Ms Boyd said.
“Staff are reporting that patients, too, are enjoying the brand-new rooms and amenities, which unlike hospitals of old, are light, airy, visually attractive and very comfortable.” Community engagement St Stephen’s Hospital is not just an example of best-practice healthcare technology, but one of its core commitments is community engagement.
According to Michelle Clunn, manager of support services, the meaningful involvement of the local community was a primary objective. “A local consumer advisory committee was formed before planning began to ensure the hospital reflected the needs and values of the community,” Ms Clunn said.
“The spirit of reconciliation was a predominant theme in design; the involvement of traditional owners, the Butchulla people, has ensured the hospital reflects their culture.” Ms Clunn added that the centrepiece of the hospital is the medicinal garden, which showcases local plants with medicinal qualities and creates a link between traditional and modern healthcare.
“The relaxed spirit of the Fraser Coast can also be felt throughout the hospital, from the light, airy design of the buildings and wards to the community artwork on display. “The mural in the reception area reflects the area’s geography, the entrance to the main (surgical) ward features a mosaic painted and donated by students of the Fraser Coast Anglican College and each room displays stunning photos taken by local people of the region’s natural beauty.”