HEALTH

Latest digital health project to enhance decision making across Australian hospitals

The government-backed Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre has set up a A$1.5 million ($2.1 million) research project that will evaluate and improve clinical decision support tools across regional and metropolitan hospitals settings in Australia.

The project is a 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.

WHY IT MATTERS

Clinical staff are facing challenges in decision making when treating patients, especially during this pandemic. 

In a media release, Melissa Baysari, associate professor at the University of Sydney, noted that while hospitals have implemented decision support systems, these are either “poorly taken up or worked around”. 

“We need to improve the ‘fit’ between decision support technologies and the people who use them,” she stressed.

The research team emphasised the importance of their project as a 2019 report on Australian hospitals found that lapses in patient safety cost an estimated A$4.1 billion ($3 billion) between 2017-2018. It contributed to 8.9% of hospitals’ total activity and expenditure.  

Their project will make use of Alcidion’s Miya Precision system to identify priority areas where decision support tools will add value. The platform, which consolidates data from various systems such as EMRs, is currently being used by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Wagga Base Hospital. 

“The outcomes identified will allow us all to make a direct impact on improved patient care,” Alcidion Group Managing Director Kate Quirke shared.

THE LARGER TREND

Last week, Alcidion announced its extended contract with the Sydney LHD for the use of its Miya Precision system to remotely monitor the conditions of patients with acute diverticulitis and its integration with the LHD’s Cerner EMR. In the prior 12-month contract, the platform supported the virtual care delivery of the RPA Virtual Hospital for COVID-19 patients under home isolation.

Meanwhile, DHCRC has been working with the University of South Australia and SA Health to create a digital analytics tool that can predict emerging risks of adverse events in hospitals. Their project aims to resolve patient safety issues, such as ramping, suicide prevention, medication and falls incidents. 

In July, the research agency put up a project that will deliver real-time patient data via dashboards. Led by institutions under Monash University, the dashboards project will use data from Eastern Health’s EMRs and the Victorian Health Incident Management System.

ON THE RECORD

“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.

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