Wednesday, 21 July 2021 11:29

$2.1m project to better equip healthcare workers for making critical, life-saving decisions Featured

By Staff Writer

A $2.1 million project by the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to collect patient data in one place is aimed at better equipping healthcare workers when making critical and life-saving clinical decisions.

The project will be led by Monash University Faculty of Information Technology and Eastern Health Clinical School, with The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, Eastern Health and the Department of Health (Victoria) as collaborators.

The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) project will deliver live streams of clinical analytics and reporting information in the form of online dashboards.

The CRC says the dashboards will drive quality improvement, safety assurance and more efficient accreditation in a hospital setting - with the data drawn from hospital electronic medical records (EMR) and the Victorian Health Incident Management System (VHIMS).

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Prof David Plunkett, Chief Executive of Eastern Health, said the project is the first of its kind in Victoria, with exciting potential for scalability.  “This project is led by our Executive Director of Information, Technology and Capital Projects, Zoltan Kokai. It will display streamed data on dashboards extracted from Eastern Health hospital systems,” Professor Plunkett said.

“Importantly, it will bring together the areas of clinical practice, technology and the very important requirement of accreditation, to proactively improve the quality and safety of how care is provided.”

Prof Peteris Darzins, Exec Clinical Director of Aged Medicine and Director of Geriatric Medicine at Eastern Health, said: “This is an exciting venture for clinicians and will facilitate and improve patient care in a timely manner.”

Neville Board, Victoria’s Chief Digital Health Officer said the project builds on investments in digitisation of health care in Victorian hospitals, and EMR and other clinical data sources will be used to ensure health services can be ready at any time for accreditation - and at the same time, clinical datasets will be put into the hands of clinicians to drive local quality improvement. 

 “It’s essential we shift from manually collating clinical data. Digital technologies will empower our hospitals to provide real time data for clinical decision making and for accreditation against national standards set by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care,” Board said.  

Chris Bain, Professor of Practice in Digital Health at Monash University, says the project uses innovative technologies to address a pressing need in the healthcare sector for reliable, quick and easy-to-access data. 

“The dashboards will combine data engineering techniques with user-friendly visualisations to surface key information from large data-sets,” said Professor Bain. 

“These dashboards will enable clinicians to better understand the quality of care needed on a continuous daily basis, leading to improved quality standards, better patient care and overall support for clinicians.”

The CRC says accreditation of safety and quality in health services aims to ensure the health system is better informed, supported and organised to deliver safe and high-quality care.

Australian Council on Healthcare Standards CEO, Dr Karen Luxford said that on completion, the project will develop a roadmap for Australian hospitals to adopt live digital dashboards with new models to support proactive, continuous quality improvement and accreditation.

“Safe, quality care is important every day. Use of real time data will support hospitals to review the quality of care delivered and provide information for the external evaluation of health care services through accreditation.

“The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards is delighted to be a partner in this project focussed on the future of healthcare,” Dr Luxford said.

According to the CRC, the implementation of the digital dashboards will benefit a number of hospital areas, including clinical governance, preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infection, medication safety, comprehensive care, blood management, recognising and responding to acute deterioration, communicating for safety and partnering with consumers.

The CRC says the four-year project will demonstrate the impact of the dashboard framework on clinical practice, hospital audit teams and external accreditation. 

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