Putting digitally enhanced models of care to the test

The potential applications of digital health technologies are still being explored. Some applications are essentially digital replacements for existing workflows, such as replacing faxed messages with a secure clinical messaging service. Other applications invite us to reimagine health and care workflows, by streamlining processes, improving quality and safety, or by adding entirely new capabilities.

These digitally enhanced workflows need to be tested in real-world implementations (“test beds”) to ensure their clinical safety and efficacy before nationwide roll outs are undertaken. Six test bed projects are currently planned:

Better management of chronic disease (including Health Care Homes)

Patients with chronic conditions often experience a lack of coordination in their care, which can result in avoidable hospital admissions and other sub-par outcomes. This test bed will explore how digital technologies can alleviate these problems.

Embedding telehealth into clinical consultations

Telehealth holds great potential for improving service delivery in remote areas as well as with mobility impaired patients. This test bed seeks to remove the barriers to telehealth use to unlock this potential.

Improving quality of health services in residential aged care

It has been demonstrated that digital health interventions for aged care residents can dramatically reduce the number of transfers into hospital.*

This test bed will explore practical implementations of these principles.

Respecting patients’ end of life care preferences

This test bed will look into improved care coordination during end of life care.

Improving child health

We’re partnering with eHealth NSW and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network to identify projects that will have a positive impact on the health and social outcomes and experiences of children and their families, such as support for tracking vaccination histories.

Improving emergency care

Time is of the essence in emergency departments. In partnership with the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, this test bed will explore how real-time healthcare information sharing can improve outcomes in emergency departments.

You’ll hear much more about these projects in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Footnotes

Campbell B, Stirling C, Cummings E. Continuity matters: Examining the ‘information gap’ in transfer from Residential Aged Care, ambulance to emergency triage in southern Tasmania. International emergency nursing. 2016.