by Hamish Barwick

Datacom makes e-health play

Sep 18, 20143 mins
Healthcare Industry

Datacom is set to acquire a 20 per cent share in Canberra-based health informatics software company SmartWard as it moves into the e-health space.

The Australasian IT services firm will install SmartWard’s health informatics software in hospitals around Australia. The software automates nursing records and removes the need for paper documents.

According to clinical trials conducted in 2013 by Deakin University’s Centre for Clinical Nursing Research at two Eastern Health hospitals in Melbourne, the SmartWard software reduced the amount of time nurses had to spend filling out patient records and increased patient care times.

For example, the amount of time nurses spent at patient bedsides rose from 32.8 per cent to 48.1 per cent. Time spent filling out forms fell from 15.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent..

The Deakin University clinical trials were reviewed by Deloitte Access Economics on behalf of SmartWard.

According to Deloitte, the redeployment of nurse time to patient care increased nurse’s job satisfaction and shifted their time away from “low-value administrative work” to clinical care.

The increase in patient care could also lead to patients healing faster and leaving hospital quicker. Deloitte estimated that the reduced length of patient stay could save hospitals $50,000 per bed per year.

“If delivered across a 600 bed hospital annual improvements of around $30 million could be expected with a payback on the SmartWard solution within 12 months,” said the consulting firm’s report.

As part of its e-health strategy, Datacom has appointed Dr Keith Joe as chief medical information officer in its Healthcare Solutions business unit.

Joe previously worked as a clinical director at the Australian Centre for Health Innovation for three years. Prior to this role, he was an IT implementation manager at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

On September 1, Datacom reported a lift in profit for the year ending 31 March 2014. Its group profit before tax totalled $64.7 million compared to last year’s $50.9 million, an increase of 27 per cent.

Operating profit before gains on assets divested was in line with last year, with overall revenue up by 1.3 per cent from $870 million to $881 million.

Datacom also announced the appointment of Theresa Eyssens as CEO of Datacom Systems Australia. She was previously head of IBM’s natural resources industry sector team in Australia and New Zealand.

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