Hervey Bay gets the go ahead for first digital hospital in Australia

UnitingCare Health granted $47 million towards building the new St Sephen's Hospital in Hervey Bay.

The first fully integrated digital hospital in Australia will be developed in Hervey Bay - bringing state of the art healthcare services to the region.
Following on from the first stage of UnitingCare Health’s St Stephen’s Hospital, opened in 2006, stage two will be a new private 96-bed hospital scheduled to open in August 2014.
The $87.5 million project has received a $47 million grant from the Australian Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF) towards the project’s construction and e-health costs.

“The new hospital will not only introduce new clinical services and specialists to the area, with more complex medical and surgical care, but also will showcase what is possible to the world. We are building the hospital of the future,” Executive Director of UnitingCare Health, Richard Royle said.
“All medical records, X-ray and pathology results will be accessible by doctors and nurses anywhere in the hospital whether at the bedside, or remotely on tablets, mobile phones, laptops or mobile computers on wheels, as well as at nurses’ stations.
“The advanced wireless technologies will generate efficiencies, improve safety and clinical outcomes, and create higher levels of patient and clinician satisfaction,” he said.
Based on national averages, Hervey Bay is at present underserviced by hospital beds. With an estimated 40 per cent of the local population having private health insurance or Department of Veterans’ Affairs eligibility, the new St Stephen’s Hervey Bay will relieve the pressure that is currently placed on the adjacent Hervey Bay Public Hospital.

The new private hospital also will make a significant contribution to forming a health precinct at Hervey Bay and will attract new specialists to the region who can work across both the public and private health sectors.
General Manager of St Stephen’s Hospital, Leanne Tones, said that the project was a unique opportunity to provide a flagship hospital, not only for Hervey Bay, but for the whole of Australia.

“To be the first to build a fully integrated digital hospital in the nation is both a privilege and an enormous responsibility for UnitingCare Health,” Ms Tones said.
“We are putting together a prestigious e-health project team, sourced from the best available in Australia and complemented by leaders in the field from the U.S., including Cerner, a major global provider of healthcare IT solutions,” she said.
UnitingCare Queensland’s CEO, Anne Cross, said that the project aligns with the strategic vision of UnitingCare Queensland (which with UnitingCare Health comprises Blue Care and UnitingCare Community).
“An important element of our strategic vision is around being a leading organisation in person centred care – providing safe and high quality services that clearly prioritise the needs of people,” she said.
“We also have a strong focus on embracing and continuously investing in technology. This project clearly demonstrates our commitment to these important objectives,” Ms Cross said.
“We are excited about the potential linkages this project enables between St Stephen’s and our other UnitingCare service groups on the Fraser Coast – UnitingCare Community and Blue Care – allowing us to improve our broader services to the community,” she said.
Jill O’Brien, Director of Nursing at St Stephen’s Hospital, said that in addition to all medical records and results being accessible from devices anywhere in the hospital, the nurse call system, phone systems and patient medical devices such as blood pressure machines and infusions pumps will all be integrated.

“This will mean the development of an entirely new model of care with better accessibility to patient records and other information, enabling improved sharing of information and results with patients and less time wasted trying to find other staff or equipment,” Ms O’Brien said.
“The digital capability of St Stephen’s Hospital Hervey Bay and the corresponding change and innovation in work practices is an exciting challenge for our clinicians,” she said.
UnitingCare Health is a service group of UnitingCare Queensland which provides quality and compassionate care to more than 14,000 people every day of the year and also includes UnitingCare Community and Blue Care.

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