Technology is driving innovation in nearly every commercial sector. Following an announcement by the government that Australia's first digital eHealth facility is now open, it appears even hospitals are following the trend, too.
St Stephen's Private Hospital in Hervey Bay is the first of its kind in Australia, with provisions for up to 96 inpatients and three operating theatres utilising only the most up-to-date and sophisticated eHealth technologies.
The future of health care
The facility has opened its doors with the backing of Health Minister Peter Dutton. He better explained exactly what makes this hospital so unique. "St Stephen's has raised the bar for all healthcare providers by embracing the technology literally before the foundations were laid."
"It will be a showcase for the improvements that eHealth information technology can make for health care and patient outcomes. Digital technology can make health care far more efficient and more effective for patients and providers."
What is eHealth technology?
In the simplest of terms, eHealth is a system which effectively blends information and communication technology with the world of health care. The most prevalent systems that are currently considered as eHealth are as follows:
- Electronic health records. These are a solution which aim to make patients' health information available at any time in any health care setting. Utilising these can be critical in saving time in emergencies and they are likely to become standard across the industry in the not too distant future.
- Electronic clinical decision support systems. When twinned with electronic health records, these can generate patient specific advice and supply health care professionals with the details of any special requirements that each patient has.
- Computerised prescriptions. eHealth technology can computerise and autonomously organise prescriptions, saving time for both patients and health care professionals.
The facility in Hervey Bay will utilise the latter in particular, with all prescriptions set to be digitised and completely paperless going forward. The hospital has cost the government $25.9 million to build and a further $21.2 million has been spent in fitting it with the latest eHealth solutions.
The wider private health industry is set to follow the eHealth trend over the coming months, as electronic medication charts will be rolled out in private hospitals across Australia during the 2014-2015 financial year.
One of the benefits of private health insurance is the access to such facilities and the subsequent eHealth solutions that policies can offer. If you are looking at taking out cover, upgrading your current arrangement, or switching health fund, talk to HICA on 1300 44 22 01 for expert, impartial advice.