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Telstra Health provides patient movement system for Epworth Richmond Hospital

Telstra Health's Patient Flow system will allow the hospital to glean near real-time information on bed capacity and patient movement, allowing for more accurate forecasting of demand.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra Health has another win under its belt after being selected by non-profit private healthcare provider Epworth HealthCare to provide its Patient Flow Manager system for Epworth Richmond Hospital in Melbourne.

Telstra's system provides near real-time information on bed occupancy and patient movement throughout the hospital, enabling more efficient planning than via the manual, paper-based system that is still being used.

"The current process for managing bed flow across the sites is manual and relies on a series of meetings and conversations between staff about planned or potential discharges. The flow of information can be time consuming, reactive, subject to individual interpretation and sensitivity," Epworth Richmond executive director Nicole Waldron said.

"The ability of Epworth Richmond to see at a glance inpatient bed status is of critical business importance, as bed occupancy impacts on patient flow, discharge planning, patient and visiting medical officer satisfaction, as well as revenue management."

Telstra Health's Patient Flow system -- now used in more than 100 hospitals across the country -- combines information from a facility's inpatient, outpatient, elective surgery, and emergency procedure databases in order to predict demand for bed capacity, according to Telstra Health sales and marketing director for Health IQ Dave Piggott.

"With Patient Flow Manager in place, Epworth Richmond staff will be able to manage the patient journey within the hospital, from admission to discharge, more efficiently," Piggott said.

"Staff will know bed capacity and demand in near real-time, allowing them to plan for and forecast future demand."

Earlier this month, Telstra Health also won a contract with the Western Australian government to roll out a AU$10 million Community Health Information System in an effort to "close the gap" in access to health information between metro and rural residents.

The health information system is designed to record data on children's health, including their vaccinations, as well as providing information about public health issues, management of chronic diseases, antenatal health, and pharmacies that provide community-based clinical services.

It will also monitor health reforms, allowing the system to improve the provision of health services in these areas. Telstra Health will be using its Communicare solution for the service, which it said is suited for large areas.

Telstra Health was also contracted by the Commonwealth Department of Health last May to construct and run the Australian National Cancer Screening Register for five years, with the database to maintain patient records for cancer testing across the country.

Under that contract Telstra Health will create a database of cancer records for those who have been screened for bowel and cervical cancer, with patients and doctors able to access the register online. The register will integrate eight existing cervical cancer registers and the current bowel cancer register, with more than 11 million separate records being amalgamated onto a single platform.

The register will be overseen by health professionals, and will link records from federal, state, and territory government agencies, My Health Record, and Medicare, as well as private health service providers, pathologists, and general practices. It will provide mail-based reminders for patients whose cancer screening is due, and a contact centre for those needing assistance.

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