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Digital & Innovation

Digital health to redesign decision making in NSW hospitals

Health Industry Hub | November 5, 2021 |
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Digital & Innovation: A new research project is set to apply health informatics solutions to decision making in hospitals to deliver safer and more effective patient care.

The $1.5 million project, through the Digital Health CRC (DHCRC), will evaluate and improve clinical decision support tools in both regional and metropolitan hospital settings and is three-year collaboration between Sydney Local Health District (LHD), eHealth NSW, Murrumbidgee LHD, NSW Health, University of Sydney, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Alcidion.

“With hospitals on the frontline of Australia’s healthcare delivery, this project aims to support clinical staff who are faced with an enormous number of decisions when treating patients – navigating the ever-growing array of drugs, tests, techniques, medical technology and health data now available,” said DHCRC CEO Dr Terry Sweeney CMG.

“In addition to benefitting patients, the project has a number of commercial drivers with a 2019 report on Australian hospitals finding that patient safety lapses contributed to around 8.9 per cent of total hospital activity and expenditure, costing an estimated $4.1 billion during 2017-18.”

Associate Professor Melissa Baysari from the University of Sydney explained that while decision support systems are often implemented in hospitals, they are either poorly taken up or worked around. “We need to improve the ‘fit’ between decision support technologies and the people who use them,” A/Prof Baysari said.

Professor Steven McPhail from Queensland University of Technology added that the importance of the project was its multidisciplinary nature, supported by the DHCRC. “It’s vital to ensure Health Services research is done in collaboration, with people and organisations with different expertise, backgrounds and perspectives who have unique views and can contribute to the project’s immediate and long-term success,” Professor McPhail explained, who is also a Flagship Research and Education Director of the DHCRC.

The research team will work with Alcidion’s Miya Precision system, which is used by Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and by Wagga Base Hospital in Southern NSW, to identify priority areas where clinical decision support tools will add value. Miya Precision consolidates data from existing systems, such as the electronic medical record and enables clinical decision support to provide clinicians with proactive notification of critical issues.

Sydney LHD Chief Information Officer Richard Taggart said the project was an exciting step forward in supporting the local health workforce who are under immense pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic. “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with the academic experts and an industry partner such as Alcidion to bring technology to the forefront of clinical decision making in our hospitals, supporting our clinicians at a time they need it most,” he said.

Alcidion Group Managing Director, Kate Quirke, said “We are pleased to work with the DHCRC and other partners in this important project that is closely aligned with the principles of our healthcare solutions. The outcomes identified will allow us all to make a direct impact on improved patient care”.


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