by George Nott

Standards Australia launch ‘Digital Hospitals Handbook’

Jul 06, 2017
Digital TransformationGovernmentHealthcare Industry

Standards Australia has release its Digital Hospitals Handbook to inform the design and implementation of modern healthcare facilities.

The handbook – IT039 – 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.

UnitingCare’s St Stephen’s Hospital in Hervey Bay, which opened in 2014, was used as an exemplar.

“Australian 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,” said Dr Andrew Howard, chair of the handbook’s technical committee and adviser to the Australian Digital Health Agency.

“By 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,” he added.

Work 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.

“Digital 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 ‘digital hospital’; 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,” Standards Australia, the independent, government-approved standards body, said.

The document was initially slated for a March release.

“We need to apply a contemporary digital lens over the model of care and design of buildings and organisations. The handbook does just that,” said Dr Bronwyn Evans, CEO of Standards Australia.

“The document effectively aligns with industry policy, addressing the importance of technology for the sector’s future. As the first of its kind in the world, it showcases Australia’s competitiveness and capacity for innovation,” she added.