Digital health is a team sport and innovative technology and its truly transformative power holds the key to future proofing our public system, according to eHealth NSW Chief Executive and Chief Information Officer Dr Zoran Bolevich.
Bolevich was speaking at the recent HealthShare NSW and eHealth NSW Expo 2018 in Sydney.
“One of the main aims of eHealth NSW is to lead and coordinate the digital transformation of Australia’s largest public health system. We aim to not only digitally enable NSW Health, as we know it today, but also make our health system future ready,” Bolevich said.
According to Bolevich, one of the main success factors of the organisation, which is just under four years old, is a clear direction and shared vision in outlining the eHealth strategy for NSW Health.
“This is our compass and helps us decide how to prioritise ICT investments and efforts. Its implementation is governed by clinicians, executives and policy makers right across the system. This led to the implementation of the EMRs in 164 public hospitals and electronic medication management in 42 hospitals so far,” he said.
“We have learnt that these implementations work best when they are centrally coordinated but locally led and delivered.”
The next phase of eHealth NSW’s journey will see the organisation embark on bringing a digitally fragmented patient records system together.
“This leads us to another ingredient for success, which is leveraging partnerships, Bolevich said.
“For example, a strong partnership with a rural health district has enabled us to connect all hospitals and community health centres in rural NSW to a secure broadband network.
“This has now been followed by a rapid implementation of EMRs and electronic medication management across dozens of rural hospitals.”
[Read more: eHealth NSW looks to expand its children’s electronic record nationally as experts workshop digital health projects for Australian kids | eHealth NSW’s CCIO departs to “enjoy life for a while”]
Bolevich also said the organisation is partnering with the Agency for Clinical Innovation on a range of technologies to support new models of care and enhancing safety and quality through the use of data analytics.
“Our programs, services and partnerships are helping to create and future proof a digitally enabled and integrated health system that serves a third of Australia's population.”
HealthShare NSW Acting Chief Executive Carmen Rechbauer, who was also a keynote presenter at the event, provided an update on the achievements of the organisation.
HealthShare NSW is a statewide organisation established to provide shared services to support the delivery of patient care within the NSW Health system.
“Our vision was to establish an organisation that focused exclusively on the very important support services that are critical to keep the health system functioning. Our mission, was to transition, consolidate and then transform businesses to the best that they can be,” she said.
“We are continuing to deliver more innovative and efficient ways of working. More and more, we’re using technology to deliver services for our customers.”
According to Rechbauer, HealthShare NSW’s patient transport services, in just three months, has returned over 300 hours of potential response capacity to NSW Ambulance so that it can undertake critical and lifesaving incidents.
It was created earlier this year to deliver comprehensive ICT services to NSW Ambulance and accelerate modernisation of its key technology platforms.
A year ago, its patient transport services had a loss time injury frequency rate of 21.4, which consisted of mostly manual handling tasks associated with loading and unloading patients. This has been reduced by 44 per cent, she said.
“An example is a community project that transfers clinically suitable patients from their homes, aged-care facilities, GPs, consulting rooms and medical centres to the emergency departments,” Rechbauer said.
HealthShare NSW’s newest business line, Ambulance Make Ready, has also returned valuable hours to NSW Ambulance. It’s eighth and last station will open this month in Haberfield.
In addition, its shared service centres have rolled out iexpenses to 19 health agencies, and are currently exploring opportunities that automation and digital technology can make to improve its interactions with customers.