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New project bringing together clinical practice and tech

A new Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) project to collect patient data in one place aims to better equip healthcare workers when making critical and live-saving clinical decisions.

The $2.1 million project will be led by Monash University Faculty of Information Technology and Eastern Health Clinical School, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, Eastern Health and the Department of Health (Victoria) and, is set to deliver live streams of clinical analytics and reporting information in the form of online dashboards.

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

Chief Executive of Eastern Health Professor David Plunkett says this project is a first of its kind in Victoria and has exciting potential for scalability.

“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,” says Professor Plunkett.

Neville Board, Victoria’s Chief Digital Health Officer says the project builds on investments in digitisation of health care in Victorian hospitals.

EMR and other clinical data sources will be used to ensure health services can be ready at any time for accreditation.

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,” says Mr Board.

“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.”

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,” says 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 implementation of the digital dashboards will reportedly 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 four-year project is expected to demonstrate the impact of the dashboard framework on clinical practice, hospital audit teams and external accreditation.

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