Name: Brett ReedmanTitle: Chief information officerCompany: Catholic HealthcareCommenced role: March 2019Reporting line: CEOMember of the executive team: YesTechnology Function: 40 staff, 5 direct reports
With its medical practitioners unable to attend face-to-face consultations with residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, residential aged care and home care services provider Catholic Healthcare needed to think innovatively.
Fortunately, chief information officer Brett Reedman was no stranger to digital transformation, having led Catholic Healthcare’s technology team through the development and implementation of several IT initiatives.
“A lack of access to specialist services and longer wait times for health appointments led to the deterioration of aged care residents’ conditions and put immense pressure on our staff to deliver adequate clinical care,” Reedman tells CIO Australia.
At the time, with COVID-19 at its peak, the rollout of telehealth by the government solved the issue of face-to-face appointments. However, medical practitioners were still limited by only having verbal information provided by registered nurses on-site over the phone.
Challenges remained even with the introduction of video conferencing due to onsite staff lacking the skills to focus cameras properly along with nurses finding it difficult to assist with clinical assessments while holding a device.
Driven by his passion to improve the way Catholic Healthcare cares for its residents and drives operational efficiencies, Reedman found the ideal solution, even though at first it seemed rather futuristic.
He determined that deploying HoloLens 2 3D headsets would be the best way for Catholic Healthcare to provide timely access to medical services during ongoing COVID-19 and other infectious outbreaks, as well as in areas suffering from GP shortages.
Seamless virtual experience for remote care
HoloLens 2 headsets generate life-emulating holograms in physical space, and have the benefit of being untethered, fully self-contained Windows 10 computers that rest comfortably on a person’s head, says Reedman.
“Through its multiple cameras and eye tracking, HoloLens 2 understands precisely where you’re looking to create a seamless virtual digital experience for remote care.”
Working closely with Catholic Healthcare’s clinical and safe care department, Reedman and his team identified the components of a successful telehealth solution. This included meeting aged care quality standard requirements, such as involving the resident in the consultation. The solution was also co-designed with general practitioners and other medical professionals to determine what changes in residents’ health conditions would trigger a telehealth consult.
Meanwhile, staff education and engagement were needed to ensure they knew how to use the technology. In addition, webinars were hosted by primary health networks to advocate the benefits of using HoloLens 2 for telehealth to other aged care providers.
Timely medical interventions
For residents, it has meant timely access to medical interventions leading to better health outcomes as they don’t need to wait for a GP or other medical professionals to visit the home on a regular basis. Appointment wait times have also decreased, along with improvements in unnecessary hospital transfers and residents entering palliative care due to a lack of timely access to medical interventions are being monitored. Benefits for staff include reduced pressure to provide complex clinical care, improved job satisfaction and feeling more supported by the organisation.
Being able to review residents remotely and in high definition has enabled medical practitioners to provide better treatment options while reducing their travel times.
The hands-free capability of HoloLens enables registered nurses to better assist GPs in reviewing residents – improving the efficiency of the assessment and care planning process through remote consultations.
For family members and authorised representatives of residents, timely access to care means less stress and worry while they can now join in on clinical consults or telehealth appointments and be a part of the experience.
Rolling out HoloLens headsets for remote care is one of several technology initiatives Reedman has led over the past two years. Others include the implementation of CRM Dynamics to create a unified sales platform for Catholic Healthcare clients and families across all its service streams, and migrating the organisation’s applications and infrastructure to the cloud.
New volunteer management CRM, visitor management, budgeting and forecasting, and board management systems have also been delivered, as well as a standardised nurse call and access control system across 42 residential aged care homes resulting in faster response times and fewer complaints.
The organisation’s data warehouse was re-architected and modernised as a cloud-based offering, and its IT service management platform was re-implemented, while a 5-year cyber security strategy was developed and currently running ahead of schedule.
Reedman encourages executives and managers across the organisation to use technology creatively to help improve the care provided to residents and clients. He makes certain that ideas, goals, and plans are clearly communicated to others and aims to articulate complex concepts in a concise and understandable manner regardless of the audience.
Recognising the value of collaboration, Reedman actively promotes a teamwork culture and fosters an environment in which different points of view are valued and individuals are encouraged to contribute their ideas and expertise. This has expanded beyond Catholic Healthcare to include collaboration with other aged care providers, universities, and industry suppliers.
“I believe by working together to solve common problems, we can achieve better results faster, which only benefits those we serve,” he says.
Louis van Wyk