UnitingCare Health builds Queensland’s first digital hospital

Project launched at St Stephen’s Hospital at Hervey Bay under an $87.5 million e-health and infrastructure modernisation initiative.

Delivering integrated healthcare

Delivering integrated healthcare

One of Australia’s first fully-integrated digital hospitals is being initiated by UnitingCare Health at Queensland’s St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay.

The innovative St Stephen’s Hospital project involves building a “hospital of the future” around fully-integrated digital technologies.

This project leverages an investment of nearly $87.5 million around eHealth and infrastructure modernisation costs. The UnitingCare Health system is Queensland’s only not-for-profit provider of private hospital services on the Fraser Coast.

The upgrade project is supported by the Federal Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund. The Commonwealth is providing $47 million towards an estimated $87.5 million budget to modernise the infrastructure and eHealth systems.

Fully integrated hospital system

The St Stephen’s project has helped computerise and fully integrate the hospital’s operations, equipment and services. This project is being canvassed as setting a new benchmark for healthcare. This system integrates wide-ranging technologies as well as equipment and practices. This integration offers a more holistic and high-quality patient care, note officials.

The St Stephen’s roll-out will transform Australia’s healthcare landscape, according to Richard Royle, Executive Director of UnitingCare Health. He said that other hospitals have trialled or implemented digitisation. But St Stephen's is the first hospital to fully integrate and digitise all of its activities.

UnitingCare Health has hosted delegations from leading institutions, offering a first-hand look at the digital project. These include the Queensland, NSW and Commonwealth Departments of Health, Monash University, the CSIRO, and Australia’s largest public and private hospitals.

Patients visiting the St Stephen’s Hospital can be treated by physicians with access to health alerts, medication management systems or information on mobile devices.

UnitingCare Health is a large provider of health care services in south east Queensland. It operates up to 1,000 licensed beds and is supported by more than 3,800 staff.

Robots support precision surgery

In other news, the Brisbane-based The Wesley Hospital reported that it is an Australian-first to use the US supplier Intuitive Surgical's next-generation Xi da Vinci Robots for precision surgery.

These robots support minimally-invasive surgery, for example, those involving patients with complex cancers or diseases.

The Xi da Vinci robots have been used in the US since April this year. These were recently approved in Australia. The robots enable specialists to offer minimally-invasive surgical options for patients.

Next-generation robots support a greater range of motion as well as added dexterity and precision. Extended instrument reach is available, together with a better look inside the body using high-definition 3D tools.

The Wesley also uses an endoscope and digital camera system during procedures. So far, surgeons have performed more than 2,000 robot-assisted procedures.

The Wesley is one of Queensland’s largest private hospitals. Each year, this hospital services more than 80,000 patients – both local and overseas.

With 538 beds, the hospital hires more than 2,300 full-time, part-time and casual staff. Up to 800 specialists are accredited to practice at this hospital.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

Tags digital hospitalsSt Stephen’s Hospital3dXi da Vinci robots. precision surgeryehealthDepartments of Healthmobile devicesUnitingCare Healthpatient care management systemsBYODCSIROintegrated healthcarerobotic systems

More about CSIROFederal GovernmentIntuitive SurgicalMonash UniversityThe Wesley HospitalWesley Hospital

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