Standards Australia has release its Digital Hospitals Handbook to inform the design and implementation of modern healthcare facilities.\nThe handbook \u2013 IT039 \u2013 includes a clear definition of 'digital hospital', and guidance relating to systems architecture and design, programme management, business case formulation, leadership, staffing, risk management, governance, change management and continuing operations.\n \nUnitingCare's St Stephen's Hospital in Hervey Bay, which opened in 2014, was used as an exemplar.\n \n\u201cAustralian hospitals have been improving their digital maturity for decades. However, early adopters show some projects have cost more, taken longer and been less effective than was otherwise possible,\u201d said Dr Andrew Howard, chair of the handbook\u2019s technical committee and adviser to the Australian Digital Health Agency.\n\u201cBy focusing on people and outcomes our hope is it will be widely leveraged by private and public health systems as they plan their digital transitions,\u201d he added.\n \nWork on the handbook, originally proposed by Department of Health and Human Services Victoria and the first of its kind in the world, started in 2015, led by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council and the National Health CIO Forum. Since then a long-list of organisations, including government bodies, clinicians associations and engineers have been involved in its creation.\n \n\u201cDigital health projects across the globe have faced challenges. Australian experts wanted a consolidated reference to guide health systems as they move to digital. The handbook aims to improve the outcomes of these types of projects by ensuring clear articulation of the underlying principles for a \u2018digital hospital\u2019; alignment with the design, construction and commissioning of healthcare facilities through a benefits estimation and realisation framework and an ICT systems architecture that enables innovative healthcare services now and into the future,\u201d Standards Australia, the independent, government-approved standards body, said.\n \nThe document was initially slated for a March release.\n \n\u201cWe need to apply a contemporary digital lens over the model of care and design of buildings and organisations. The handbook does just that,\u201d said Dr Bronwyn Evans, CEO of Standards Australia.\n \n\u201cThe document effectively aligns with industry policy, addressing the importance of technology for the sector\u2019s future. As the first of its kind in the world, it showcases Australia\u2019s competitiveness and capacity for innovation,\u201d she added.